My trip to New York started with a favorite brunch spot going down the tubes and ended with a brunch spot that I loved so much, I went twice. That spot is Lafayette and it’s located, as the name might suggest, on Lafayette Street just south of the Astor Place stop on the 6 train and north of the Broadway/Lafayette stop on every other train. My first visit was with my friend Alex who you can see above modeling a $14 basket of pastries so good, we pretty much devoured the whole thing. Going to Lafayette and not ordering the pastry basket is like going to Disneyland and not riding the rides. You just can’t avoid it.
The chef/owner of Lafayette is Andrew Carmellini and the place has a similar vibe to one of his other restaurants, the Dutch; a warm, sophisticated environment that’s mostly welcoming and only slightly forbidding. Here’s the front door:
And a little bit of the inside:
See those tables by the windows? That’s where you want to sit. Make a reservation on OpenTable (that’s what I did) and put that in your special request. The other tables at Lafayette don’t hold a candle to the window tables.
There’s also a little bakery in the front, if you just want a pastry and a coffee to go:
But the best part of going to Lafayette, is sitting up there at one of those windowy tables with a good friend while devouring this pastry basket. I mean look at it.
There’s three croissants, a muffin, two pieces of bread, butter and jam. Only sick, disgusting people could eat all of that. We are sick disgusting people.
But check out this croissant, my favorite one. It had coconut and mango and chocolate; it was almost like a cake, it was so dense.
Who doesn’t want cake for breakfast?
Here’s a sign that Lafayette pays attention to the little details: my cappuccino came with latte art (cappuccino art?), a nice touch.
As for the food, Alex had the frittata with field mushrooms inside and a little salad piled on top.
I had the wonderful baked eggs, which I was a little worried about (baked eggs at brunch spots are often overcooked); but these were perfectly cooked and served in a Moroccan-style sauce with Merguez sausage and all kinds of spices.
The waitress insisted on bringing me more bread (just what I needed!) to scoop up the sauce. It was a good idea.
So yes, that was my first brunch at Lafayette and, clearly, it was a winner. So the next week, during a snowstorm and, worse, Santacon, I went back with Craig and our good friend Chris D. Here they are with the pastry basket, which I insisted on getting again (I can be very insistent):
This time around, I tried the smoked salmon benedict (Craig had it too) which came on a pile of wilted spinach with toasted brioche on the side.
Craig raised his eyebrow at the price ($21), but I shushsed him while Chris ordered a burger which he and Craig will model for you here.
The prices at Lafayette may be steep, but you’re paying for the environment as much as anything else. And that’s the thing about brunch: it’s almost always a rip-off, no matter where you go. You can easily toast some bread at home, top it with eggs and call it brunch. The reason you spend money for it is to (a) go somewhere more beautiful than your home; and (b) to eat food better than what you can make at home. Lafayette is so winning because it meets both parts of that criteria handily. Next trip to New York, you know where I’ll be having brunch.
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