Frenchette and Legacy Records
Let’s start with Frenchette. Two seasoned co-chefs who worked at many of the famed McNally restaurants from Balthazaar to Minetta Tavern. A French Bistro with NYC charm. The bar in the front of the house covers the room from end to end with tables surrounding it. In the back room are plenty of booths and tables. The place hums, the noise is loud and the food is quite good. You know that the owners are professionals because even on day two the table turn on time, the food comes out at the right pace and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.
I went one night with a friend and one night with the family. My friend and on shared a few things. Highlights were the carrots and labneh.
White asparagus with leeks and truffles. I am betting that Frenchette will be here for years to come. A perfect addition to this neighborhood.
Legacy Records is located on 38th street between 10th and 11th avenues, an area that will continue to change once Hudson Yards is completely filled and humming. The owners of Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones, two bedrocks in downtown NYC, partnered with a developer of a new type of building where above the restaurant are residential apartments for rent. The restaurant is open all day and they also run the second-floor bar that includes a private room for events. A smart new way to think about residential living.
You walk into a large open room with a semi-circle bar on one side and a coffee bar across the way in the corner. It is big and airy with small groups of seatings around the periphery. The wine menu is huge and anything under $150 can be bought as a half bottle which I really like. The playlist is also excellent so a perfect spot to grab a drink pre or post theater.
The duck is becoming their signature dish. I didn’t capture the entire duck before but was able to pull it off the web.
The menu is similar to Charlie Bird where there are small plates to big plates. The crudo is a nice way to start off.
Five different kinds of pasta. The ravioli with peas, leeks, and parm makes a beautiful presentation.
I wanted the space to be better. They were 30 minutes late in seating us which is truly unacceptable. Once you walk past the bar into the dining room, there is a disconnect. The lighting is just completely wrong. It as if they changed the entire seating arrangement after the build out. The ceiling lights don’t line up with the booths so the booths are dark and don’t glow as they should. The tables are lined up in a way that doesn’t allow you to see what is happening at other people’s tables. It feels as if you are at a diner. The architecture in the back feels mid-town not the wonderful vibe of the other two restaurants downtown.
I am a bit obsessed with architecture and lighting and I am having a hard time moving past it at Legacy Records whereas Frenchette has just taken a nod from old French bistros and given it a new life. I returned to Frenchette for a second time. We went on a Sunday night. The place was packed with at least 7 chefs in and around the city including some other leading food people. That says something right there. Frenchette is a winner.