Food media darling, chef Andrew Carmellini (of Locanda Verde 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, as he got his start cooking in the kitchens of 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. And so is the people-watching at this see-and-be-seen spot.