In the Neighborhood: Lafayette

Our neighborhood keeps getting better!  First there was Acme to spice up Great Jones.  Then Soul Cycle joined the ranks.  And now Andrew Carmellini has brought us Lafayette - a spacious french brasserie that is pretty outside and in, replete with oysters, sancerre and a patisserie.  (The essential elements of a brasserie if you ask me.)  The restaurant officially opened to the public last night, so Peter and I checked it out with our friends Kendall and Wilson.  Despite the kinks you'd expect from a first night - we had a pretty much perfect meal.

We started with some nibbles to share.  Most notably the foie gras (dreamy!) and west coast Kusshi Oysters (perfect).  The crab toast was good but not outrageous.  (But I'd definitely order it again on a hot day with a very cold glass of white wine.)   We shared a second course of two pastas among the four of us: a falling-apart and perfectly rich veal ragout and a light, crisp fleur de soleil with snap peas and mint.  Both were phenomenal and each was a perfect compliment to the other.  Afterwards each couple shared an order of Steak Frites (my appetite for uncooked meat is low these days, so I was happy that we opted for Medium and not Medium Rare - the temperature was very a la francaise - Kendall said (happily!) that their order was mooing).  It was buttery and salty and piled with fries.  In a word: perfect.  Additional perks: the staff was friendly and helpful; the bread and butter was otherworldly. 

By the time our entrees were being cleared it was already quite late, so we skipped dessert at the table but picked up some sweets at the patisserie up front.  Kendall opted for two macaroons, birthday cake and the signature Lafayette (earl grey).  I chose a butterscotch eclair.  I waited to open the sweetly packaged pastry box until we were safely at home and Peter had Rosie around the block on a walk.  I didn't have to share a single bite!

My only complaint was a bit of attitude from the hostess (expected but no more thrilling).  New York Restauranteurs take note: when you move into a neighborhood you become someone's neighbor.  Bad service and bad attitude stopped being cool right along with Cosmopolitans after Sex and the City went off-air.