Lafayette finally opened this spring and the streets went wild. You’d think they were giving away a lifetime supply of free SoulCycle rides or a chance to win a date with Beyonce based on all of the shrieks, screams and media coverage received before the doors even opened. Chef Andrew Carmellini, known for his successful downtown neighborhood restaurant’s Locanda Verde and The Dutch, opened this French bistro and created one of the most gorgeous corner street dining rooms like he always does. The natural lighting, delicate hanging lamps, beautiful brass coloring and comfortable crimson booths can easily make you feel you are in a palace. It just feels right, ya know? I love the windows. It’s so fun to look in as you are passing by and so nice to look out as you are enjoying yourself. You have to start with the La Riviera with sweet peppers and French breakfast radishes. This appetizer can feed several people and for some reason peppers and radishes never tasted so good. Dip it into the La Riviera which looks like ricotta but tastes extremely smooth and almost like cream cheese. Beware of the bread basket. Upon first bite you can tell it was made right there just now or a few hours ago. It’s dense and fluffy and goes well with these pairings. The Baked Oysters “Sargent” with seaweed were just fun to order because I had no idea what was going to land infront of me. The oysters are gigantic and topped with some sort of bread crumb crunch. Go for it.With my expectations skyrocketing through the roof before I sat down, I’m sure I am a bit harsh, but I thought the Black Fettuccine with seafood and chorizo was nowhere close to being good. It only tasted fishy, and I was a bit surprised and disappointed. The Scallops were firm and tender and cooked perfectly. Nothing out of the ordinary or anything a thousand times better than any other restaurant’s, but they were done just right. I liked the spring peas too. The most satisfying try of the night was probably the Dry-Aged Strip Steak Frites that had a pile of bearnaise butter on top…yikes. The steak was crispy and crunchy on the outside and tender and pink in the middle. Right on.
Overall, I don’t think you can really go wrong with what you order here. It’s all very clean and fresh and plated nicely. The space and feeling of being inside Lafayette is what the big takeaway for me is here. I could spend all night in here and not even remember what I ate but how amazing I felt. Not to say the food isn’t good by any means because it is fantastic and super high-quality. In addition, the front bakery is filled with pastries, tarts, macarons (including birthday cake flavor), cookies, juices, etc. if you are looking for something on the go. We even saw a macaron tower birthday cake lit with sparklers dance on to one special birthday girls table.
Take someone here who deserves to feel special…if you can get in.