Get Downtown to Lafayette

I’ll cut to the chase – Lafayette is awesome.

I like it even better than The Dutch.

Why doesn’t Lafayette get more buzz? The atmosphere is a livelyy, spacious brasserie that’s more casual than Balthazar but nicer than Marseille. I would love to come here for brunch or for a birthday lunch with friends.  The menu is full of playful French classics – just like all of Andrew Carmellini’s restaurants, it is rooted in tradition but loaded with fun and personal twisted.

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Bread

Don’t miss it. The man takes his carbs really seriously. You can spread it with the soft, creamy butter or you can eat the tangy, slightly burnished crust alone. It’s phenomenal.

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Beet salad with curried cashews and yogurt

Yes, yes, yes! This is a well done salad. The beets are roasted until they are tender but not mushy and are extremely sweet. They are served with this tart yogurt and this fresh, earthy lettuce. The kicker where are the rings of perfectly pickled onions – they are piquant and bright against the other flavors. Though I didn’t like the cashews (can’t help it, I hate all cashews), this salad is very well portioned and is actually enough for a light meal with some of the very good bread alongside.

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Steak tartare

Very good, if a bit low on heat. Luckily, there is a bottle of Tabasco provided to up the spice quotient. Other than that, this is exemplary. It’s well portioned and made with soft, coarsely ground beef. It’s layered with classic flavors of pickles and served with as swath of mustard on the side and a wonderfully creamy quail egg yolk on top. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it’s super satisfying.

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Pumpkin brulee tart with pomegranate and whipped creme fraiche

The standout of the meal. A warm, whipped pumpkin pie underneath a shattering sugar crust. It’s scattered with tart, fresh bursts of pomegranate and plated with very dense, creamy whipped creme fraiche. It’s a really fun twist on pumpkin pie and I couldn’t stop eating it. This dessert isn’t only recommended, it’s unmissable.

I just love Lafayette! The service is great, the prices are what you would expect to pay at a Carmellini restaurant, and the food is just wonderful! I can’t even believe that I’m sharing this secret with you but, hey, – get there asap!