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The Early Word on Andrew Carmellini's Lafayette in Noho

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Chef Andrew Carmellini and friends?friends meaning partners Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom?opened their hotly-anticipated Lafayette last week. It is easily the biggest French grand café to open in Noho this spring. With lunch launching this week and breakfast coming soon, the guys' dream of having an all-day French restaurant will be complete. For now, the early reactions all cover dinner service and the take out coffee/pastries from the café, and the word is generally positive with some complaints about the service:

The Good News: From an Eater commenter: "Went there tonight. There were just OK dishes as well as hits. I also liked their French pastries at the bakery cafe section. NY needed this badly. The bakery cafe is open till very late too, which is very nice for late night desserts after dinner!" [Eater Comments]

The Above-Average News: From the blog Gab and Gobble, cross-posted on Yelp and Chowhound: "Don't get me wrong, the food here is good, and I would definitely come back for another visit. But I wouldn't rate my meal a 9 out of a 10, it was more like a 7+. Everything was well executed, but the flavors weren't perfect. To give Carmellini credit, his style of cooking is certainly very distinctive, and if you had to pick out a Lafayette steak frites out of a line up, you definitely could. I just wish originality and taste could have been a little more balanced." [Gab and Gobble]

The Pretty Good News:: One Chowhounder writes: "There were some hits and misses. I liked baked oysters 'sargent,' which were really juicy and tasty. Crab tartine was just OK and nothing to write home about. I found their French pastries pretty solid, at least in New York standards (where fine French pastries are somehow very rare)...And the nice thing is, Lafayette's patisserie/ boulangerie is open till very late, like 11pm, which enables me to have some desserts there after dinner. And I am thankful for that." [Chowhound]

The Bad News: Most of the (seven) Yelp reviews only address the bakery and café, and some of those are pretty negative. Like this one-star review: "My friend and I went there for desserts today. Since we did not have much time to stay, we decided to take out. When we asked the girl in the counter what flavor is the cake, she had a bad attitude. Her face made me feel like I asked a stupid question. After paying $12 for two small cakes, she put my cake in a box and just leave it on the counter. I asked for a bag and she just gave it to me without putting my cakes in it." [Yelp]

The Scene News: The nitty-gritty from a Mouthfuls review: "Exec Summary: Food was fine - I'm not really sure where to put this restaurant in my personal constellation of places here. It's sexy and there's a good looking crowd now, but I feel like I can find the same at NoMad and eat and drink far better for a similar price." [Mouthfuls]

The Excellent News: Back to Yelp: "Roasted Beets are a must. Order anything on the menu wood-fired (had the Dorade and the Seasonal Veggies, delicious.) There are bones to be picked with their meat dishes (Berkshire pork was a shade bit overdone, the steak may need to be cut in a more uniform size cuz some bites were perfect medium and others overfired. Kinks need workout but overall very tasty eats. ... The spacious and beautiful art-deco ambiance with a sense of downtown cool is unrivaled in Manhattan. It's definitely worth a special trip." [Yelp]

The Stressed-Out Service News: On Mouthfuls, a poster tells of a bar staff so stressed out he never got to order food: "As the evening progressed (we stayed about an hour and a half), not a single person came over to us to ask if we wanted anything to eat. I ordered my own drinks at the bar. That's not to say they were short-staffed - no, not at all. As a matter of fact, I've never seen so many staff people walking around looking like deer in headlights in quite some time. Not with nothing to do, no...but not knowing what to do." [Mouthfuls]

The Great News: Gabriella Gershenson of Saveur tweets: "Lafayette tonight was a fantasy. A true grand cafe. Duck & frites were favorites--coming back for rotisserie chicken." Mission Chinese's Danny Bowien also approves: "@andrecarmellini thanks so much chef! Last night was wonderful!!" Food + Wine's Dana Cowin is a fan of the tart tatin. And former Times critic Frank Bruni adds, "Andrew Carmellini's Lafayette (NYC) now open and great looking and has killer bread. More to come. ... If bound for Lafayette (NYC), get the rotisserie chicken. Terrific." [Twitter]

The Foursquare News: Here's one Foursquare tipster who loves the food and, well: "Good lord order the crab terrine and butter lettuce and do your best to avoid the sad customers from the upper east side (or worse??) who are dressed like they're going sailing." And here's another on the café: "Have an espresso at the Lafayette Street-facing marble counter and enjoy the sidewalk traffic - oh, and the Stumptown goodness." [Foursquare]
· All Coverage of Lafayette [~ENY~]


380 Lafayette Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 533-3000 Visit Website


380 Lafayette St., New York, NY