Food media darling, Chef Andrew Carmellini (of Locanda Verde, Bar Primi, and the Dutch) goes Gallic here. After nearly a decade of Italian dominance on the Big Apple restaurant scene, French is back in vogue again, and Lafayette is a return to Carmellini's roots:the kitchens of his mentor the great Daniel Boulud. There's no culinary trickery happening here, just straightforward and very satisfying bistro fare. Creamy duck confit–spiked pumpkin risotto, a silky beef tartare, and steak frites are all excellent. So is the people-watching at this "seeandbeseen" spot.