Entries in Lafayette (8)


N.Y. State of Restaurant Minds (and Our Meal at the Elm)

The Elm is one of the few restaurants to open this year that seems to be after three stars from The New York Times. The Marrow and Lafayette struck us as concepts that sought the same achievement, but both came up two stars short. We're certain Michael White's team at Costata is chasing three as well, but that review won't be out until (probably) September.

The trend is very much away from fine dining, polished rooms, and chiseled service from suited waiters. It's as if every new restaurant is following what's become the two star template. Pearl & Ash, Uncle Boons, ABC Cocina, Montmartre, Hanjan, and Mighty Quinn's have all opened in the past seven or eight months and have all received two stars. They are fun, casual eateries where reservations and a month spent saving aren't necessary to eat there.

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Two A's, Two T's, Two E's, One Star

One of the criteria for a New York Times restaurant review is the place in question has to have been open for three months. Theoretically, this allows the restaurant time to work out kinks and to see what works and what doesn't. Tweaks are generally made more easily at thirty-seaters versus restaurants with 150 seats that are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And while Lafayette opened on Monday, April 15th, the solitary star from Pete Wells this week was not due to inexperience.

Andrew Carmellini is a master in the kitchen. For proof, one need only venture to Locanda Verde in Tribeca or The Dutch in SoHo, where the chef displays his proficiency in Italian and American cooking, respectively. Having worked under Gary Kunz at Laspanisse and then for Daniel Boulud for six years, Lafayette is a return to Carmellini's French roots. It shows in (most of) the food, but the restaurant falls short in execution and service.

"Nobody seems to have helped the servers pronounce simple French words on the menu. Specials weren’t mentioned until I asked," Wells writes, "And a menu change (trout in place of dorade) wasn’t disclosed until I ordered it."

"As for the food," the critic writes, "There are salads and charcuterie and oysters and shoestring fries. Almost all of it is worthy, but very little seduces you. Lafayette wants you to fall in love with it, but it tries too hard in some ways and not hard enough in others."

Single star reviews are a surprise when they're attached to ambitious restaurants run by extremely talented, respected, and established chefs. But the less than favorable reviews won't keep people out of the restaurants. If anything, they serve as a ruler and leave the staff on the receiving end with sore knuckles. Service and/or food will be improved upon, the pain will subside, and people will continue to wake up hungry. [NYTimes]


Lafayette is Open

[photo: digestny] the manAndrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard, and Luke Ostrom's highly-anticipated French restaurant Lafayette opens for dinner tonight. We started covering the restaurant's progress on June 20th last year. Only back then, we had no idea it was going to be called Lafayette. Or that the menu would offer such an extensive array of French cuisine. You can get a glimpse of the menu here (courtesy of Eater). Classic bistro dishes like beef tartare and steak frites are joined with dishes inspired by the cuisine of France's neighbors: Italy and Spain. There's pasta on the menu, a result of Italy's pasta-making traditions crossing the Pennine Alps and making their way into Southern France. Black linguine with seafood and chorizo combines this influence with the combination of seafood and chorizo that's common throughout Spain. The restaurant's rotisserie lends itself to dishes like wood-fired Dorade and roast chicken for two. On his inspiration for the menu, Carmellini said, "It's food I want to eat everyday."

The cafe and bakery opens at noon to serve coffe and pastries, but dinner service launches tonight at 5:30 p.m. Breakfast, lunch, and brunch coming soon. We got in for a coffee and pictures this morning. Take a look after the jump.

380 Lafayette Street | 212-533-3000 | www | map

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Oh Mon Dieu: Awnings and Menus at Lafayette

Lafayette is the most anticipated opening of the year so far. Awnings are in place now and, early next week, owners Andrew Carmellini, Luke Ostrom, and Josh Pickard will open the doors to their Noho masterpiece. To hold us over, Grub Street got ahold of the food, drink, and dessert menus.

Lafayette has a great list of apéritifs, ranging from $9 to $16, a la Pernod Absinthe, Bonal, Byrrh, Floc de Gascogne, and Camut Pommeau de Normandie. Beers start at $7 with Belgian and domestic options making up most of the selections, and the wine-by-the-glass list hits France's big wine regions: Loire, Alsace, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhone, and Bordeaux. There's a focus therein on country-style wines from smaller producers, and pours start at $9 and go up to $22. Some of the food includes asparagus, orange, mimosa, oysters, beef tartare, and bouillabaisse for two. Most desserts are $10 each, cookies du jour are $8, and for $19 there's an apple tart for two. We'll see you there. [GS]


Show Me a Sign: Lafayette

All sorts of things are happening at Lafayette, the massive French project from Andrew Carmellini, Luke Ostrom, and Josh Pickard that's set to open this month. There's still plenty to be done, but signage started going up and we couldn't help but give you some updates. Two of the window's have been gold-leafed, the once clunky, brown cement on the building's facade got a coat of primer, and handsome gold light fixtures are in place just inside the windows. A menu hasn't been released yet, but the culinary superhero team is in place: Damon Wise is the chef de cuisine, James Belisle, formerly of Per Se, is the sous chef, and Jen Yee, who previously worked at Gilt, Aureole, and SHO Shaun Hergatt, is the pastry chef. Can't. Wait. Click ahead for more pics.

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Going Going, Back Back, to Bolo Bolo

[324 Lafayette]Bobby Flay wasn't an owner when he started his career with Mesa Grill. He became a partner after a year and a half as the executive chef. The first project he opened as an owner was Bolo. That happened in 1993 on East 22nd Street, where the restaurant enjoyed a 15-year run. The menu there was a break from Flay's southerwestern cooking and highlighted his Spanish influences. As his first restaurant, it's a project Flay holds close to his heart. That's why, although it closed more than five years ago, the Iron Chef wants to bring the restaurant back to Manhattan.

Flay and buisness partner Laurence Kretchmer got approval from Community Board 2 last week for a full liquor license at 324 Lafayette Street. It's not yet confirmed, but there's a strong possibility Bolo will be the new tenant. Either way, Flay promised New Yorkers they'd see Bolo reopen in 2013. If it happens at 324, and with Andrew Carmellini's highly anticipated French project (Lafayette) opening in a few weeks at 380 two blocks north, it could be a big year for big names in Noho.


Lafayette Preview Party this Wednesday at the Dutch

Fresh Eggs is a series of special dinners thrown from time to time in the private dining room downstairs at the Dutch. The room is called PS 131, and this Wednesday, Andrew Carmellini and Damon Wise will be serving a six-course dinner of dishes that will be on the menu at Lafayette, Carmellini's highly anticiapted French restaurant, when it opens in a few weeks in the former Chinatown Brasserie space. Dishes include a mushroom and bacon tart, sardines, raw beef with marrow cressonniere, chevre ravioli, and a seafood mouclade with sea urchin amongst others. Bubbles a la Champagne chosen by beverage director Josh Nadel will accompany each course. See the rest of the menu and get yourself a ticket here. At $250, it's a hefty price tag, but the restaurant's going to have a hefty impact on New York when it opens.


Carmellini's NoHo Super Bistro Gets a Name: Lafayette

One of the most anticipated openings to come in the remaining months of 2012 is Andrew Carmellini's French project in the former Chinatown Brasserie space.  Carmellini took over the 380 Lafayette Street address on the corner of Great Jones and Lafayette in June this year.  As the pieces fall into place, Vogue brings us news that the restaurant will be called Lafayette

Damon Wise, formerly of Craft and currently at Monkey Bar, was recently welcomed to the team and named chef de cuisine (#CDC).  Other members of that team are Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard, Carmellini's partners in The Dutch, Locanda Verde, and the newly opened The Library in the Public Theater Building up the street from Lafayette. 

Carmellini and Wise will work together to create food inspired by the south of France.  "The menu at Lafayette is Carmellini’s homage to the rustic fare of the southeast and southwest of France (niçoise ravioli with pistou and chèvre and slow-cooked lamb with burnt orange and olives) as Carmellini notes of his emphasis on regional cuisine: “it's the spirit of French cooking.”" 

The Lafayette experience wil be helped by an in-house bakery, a zinc-hooded rotisserie, blue-leather banquets, a private dining room, and a (probably really awesome) wine cellar.  Opening in December.