380 Lafayette St (between E 4th St and Great Jones St, NoHo)
Fatty Kat Eats: Eggs Vol-au-Vent, Black Fettuccine with Clams, Lemon Pancakes, Egg Lafayette
Let me just get it out of my system. WE SAT NEXT TO MARIO BATALI. BOBBY FLAY CAME BY TO SAY WADDUP. YES, BATALI WORE HIS ORANGE CROCS AND FLEECE VEST. YES, BOBBY FLAY IS ADORABLE. THEY TALKED ABOUT NORMAL PEOPLE THINGS. I LOVE THEM. Fact - I get 100x more star struck with celebrity chefs than normal celebrities.
Now that I've publicized my intense celebrity chef creeping, let's move on to the food! Lafayette has solid French inspired food and a killer not-sweet apple tart (now replaced by some other tart). My lovely friends took me there for my birthday earlier this year, and the newish restaurant was still working out some opening kinks. This time around, they struggled with timing, but the food spoke for itself.
I started out with a Pain au Chocolat, my favorite pastry in the whole wide world. I have yet to find one in New York that rivals Stephane Secco's version in Paris. Lafayette's pain au chocolat is pretty decent, but nowhere near close to the ones I enjoyed during my study abroad days (and the reason I gained 15 lbs in 6 months).
Next came the biggest surprise of the meal, the Soft Scrambled Eggs Vol-au-Vent with goat cheese and leeks. The puff pastry was magical, and the eggs were deliciously soft and flavorful (aka loaded with butter). Now, the truffle sauce blew all of us away. This dish made me think, why do druggies do drugs if you can get so high off truffle sauce, butter and carbs?
Our next high came from the Egg Lafayette, which was essentially a deviled egg with smoked sablefish and caviar rather than seasoned yolk. Not only does the egg photograph well, it's such an interesting and delicious twist to a tired staple.
We weren't feeling some of the other savory brunch items on the menu, so we veered towards the lunch entrees with the Black Fettuccine with Clams. The clams were so unbelievably fresh and clean. I didn't taste a speck of sand and felt like the entire ocean was packed into those squishy little nuggets. There must be a handy dandy Italian guy working in the kitchen, because the pasta was cooked al dente and curled so naturally that you could tell this pasta was something else.
It took a while for our sweet dishes to come out, but when they finally did, we were generally impressed. I loved everything about the Brussels-style Waffle with Nutella and Banana, besides the fact that the waffle was completely soft. I get that Brussels-style means I get lighter and fluffier waffle, but the one we got felt like it had no legs to stand on. It was wilted and could have been a sad dish if not for the Nutella sauce, whipped cream and caramelized bananas. That trio can usually save anything.
These Lemon Pancakes look unassuming, but they are some of the best pancakes I've had in recent memory. What I love most about this dish is that it didn't come with any syrup. The fresh berries and simple compote were enough to partner with the pancakes. I almost feel like they used sour cream or ricotta to achieve this level of foodgasm.
While Batali and Flay were nice to look at (in a celebrity chef kind of way), the food was the star of the show (no pun intended). I'm adding Lafayette to my list of solid brunch spots. Get their early. Score a table outside. Eat with a bunch of fatties. Creep on all the good-looking people and maybe a celebrity chef or two!