First it was Locanda Verde, then the Dutch, and now chef Andrew Carmellini and his restaurateur partners have opened their third restaurant, Lafayette, a classy French bistro and bakery. Open morning, noon, and night, it's a very French-feeling place on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones, with an emphasis on old-school Gallic traditions.
If you open a brasserie these days, you have to take bread seriously. Case in point is Lafayette, the new French restaurant in the old Chinatown Brasserie space on Lafayette Street. Walk in the door and the first thing you're greeted with is a counter displaying racks of brown loaves and glistening pastries that are an immediate sign of the eatery's ambition.
Pastry Chef Jennifer Yee's Accro du Caramel mousse cake ($6) is so light that I'm not sure what keeps it from floating off the plate and into the air. This small, beautiful pastry is all about subtle flavors and matching soft textures. But the first thing you'll notice is the technical precision: it looks like the components were cut using lasers.
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Pastry chef Jennifer Yee has a full plated dessert menu in the dining room of Andrew Carmellini's Lafayette, as well as an overflowing cafe bakery. We sat down to discuss how she keeps it all together, where her inspiration comes from, and what she hopes for the future of pastry in New York.