Thursday, January 29, 2015

Boss Bistro

Carmellini's Lafayette lands downtown


You might think that this city doesn't need yet another French bistro, and you'd be correct.

Unless the bistro to which you're referring is Lafayette, the latest offering from the unflagging Andrew Carmellini.

In which case you're wrong. Oh so very wrong.

That's because Carmellini — the guy behind The Dutch, Locanda Verde, and Library at the Public — knows what's what when it comes to French comfort food, and his new restaurant and bakery is putting on all-day clinics in the old Chinatown Brasserie space.

The classics all get a slight but significant upgrade. (That's AC's style.) The beef tartare's paired with poached marrow, the steak frites with bearnaise butter, the macaroni with veal ragout.

But Lafayette's also giving Balthazar a run for its money with the in-house bakery, where you can pick up fresh baguettes, croissants, and pastries, along with soups and tartines to go at lunch.

The cocktails will give an extra boost of comfort if you've spent any time at the bar at Locanda Verde, whose mixologist has designed the drinks program here. Our pick: The French Street in Manhattan with rye, Byrrh, bitters, and even bitterer Gran Classico liqueur.

Which is a sweet way to end things, if you ask us.

Photo credit Noah Fecks.

380 Lafayette St. (Great Jones St.), Noho
(212) 533-3000

Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Subway: 6 to Bleecker St.
Scene: A parade of carb lovers at the bakery, and bistro diners everywhere else.
Hot seat: Everywhere offers a great view, but you can scoot up to one of the 10 seats that look over the rotisserie for some spinnin' chicken action.
Best bets: Steak frites; beef tartare; French Street in Manhattan
Nearby: Library at the Public; Saxon + Parole; BONDST

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