Among the most highly anticipated openings this Spring, Lafayette is arguably the most talked about restaurant to open in some time. Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom, responsible for the immensely popular The Dutch and Locanda Verde are behind the new 150 seat French Bistro that is in the former Chinatown Brasserie (and club Rehab/Fez). In addition, Tom Colicchio’s longtime partner at Craft, Damon Wise, is responsible for curating what is a very attractive and excellent menu. While many french bistro’s abound in New York, seldom do restaurants have the range, depth and innovative creativity that Lafayette‘s possesses. While Lafayette’s menu is comprised of a French-Gallic influence, it is best described as being very South of France, thus incorporating traces of Italian and French. As a result, the menu offers a unique combination of french bistro classics including: Beef Tartare, Grilled Mediterranean Octopus, Oysters Sargent and Steak Frites. In addition, the menu is also comprised of exceptional Italian pasta’s including: Linguine Noir with Seafood and Chorizo, Macaroni with Veal Ragout and Brebis, and Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, which is a unique French-Italian hybrid. While there is no one stand out “signature dish” the two big winners are the Duck Au Poivre and Rotisserie Chicken. The Duck Au Poivre is served with organic grains, radish and smoked bacon. In addition to Au Poivre being highly unique way of preparation for french bistro’s, the Duck was exceptionally tender, flavorful and exquisite.
What stands out at Lafayette, in addition to the outstanding food and impressive menu, is the scene. Located on the corner of Great Jones and Lafayette, in the heart of NoHo, Lafayette is currently one of the most talked about “it spots” in town. On a Tuesday evening at 930P.M, the restaurant is completely full, with what would appear to be a unique blend of discerning foodies, socialities and tastemakers. Usually, restaurants that are “scenes” are not known for their food (I.E: Waverly Inn). However, Carmellini’s Lafayette defies conventional thinking. Rather than be known as a scene for the scene, why not be a scene because of the delectable cuisine? Despite close proximity to perennial favorites Bond St., Indochine and Acme, Lafayette is immediately not only among the best French bistro’s in town, but also, is a legitimate scene comprised of some of Manhattan’s finest (that is not a tourist trap) that in many ways represents everything Balthazar was but no longer is.