restaurants
Lafayette
380 Lafayette Street
212 533 3000

While we appreciate Andrew Carmellini's training, us being part French and having spent a lot of time there, we feel justified saying this is not like any French food we've ever had. Sorry. With the exception of certain classic items, the pate, a charcuterie board, the selection of cheeses, nothing else strikes us as particularly Gallic. That said, don't let that stop you from visiting this buzzing cafe, bar and restaurant with its many distinct corners. A snap pea appetizer with a mint green sauce stands out, crisp and absolutely delicious with shavings of ricotta salata on top. A spaghetti Nicoise is nothing like a Nicoise salad but rather is rare and shredded tuna blended into a black olive sauce mixed well with the al dente noodles. Don't forego the Maine scallop cru which will appeal to those who didn't get to have sushi for the evening. Seafood is the winner at this spot with the platter of oysters, prawns, clams and crawfish, and a wonderful seafood salad, being the best thing. Unfortunately the mains are not amazing. While many dishes are acceptably cooked, such as the squab and the steak, they tend towards the bland side. The seasonal menu seems to rely on one or two key ingredients (at the time of this writing, peas and pea shoots) and if those items are not stellar, as they weren't during our visits, the menu suffers. That said, we loved the things mentioned above, and we loved the atmosphere, which is at once casual and solicitous without being over- bearing. We can envision ourselves going back, just focusing more on making meals of the small and sharing plates.

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