212 Lafayette Street off Kenmare
$40 for two, with 2 drinks, without tip
Everything Serge Becker touches turns into the next place-to-be. (You’ve seen La Esquina and The Box in the news, right?) A 1pm lunch date with my friend at the bar started gloomy: we were meeting to drown our sorrows about the grim economy and the prospect of losing our jobs. But by the time I was halfway through my Swiss Lagrein wine and he was done with his Stella beer, we were celebrating the fact that it’s still an incredible city to live in. People around us were drinking bottles and eating as if they have all the time in the world even though the giant Rolex clock above us ticked. (Hey, maybe they’ve lost their jobs already!) Sharply-dressed men waited for their equally beautiful partners to show up. We heard French and some other indistinguishable language behind us; ah, must be Euros taking a break from shopping.
I opted for the comforting elbow pasta with ground beef in brown sauce and it came with applesauce on the side. It was weird, but if the Swiss say they go together, I believe them. It was an unusual combination I couldn’t stop eating. The bratwurst was smooth and the rösti, or Swiss potato pancake, added good texture.
I couldn’t help but love the red and white check table napkins. It’s only one of the details that make the place whole. A diner-style bar displays the ready-to-eat breakfast items like yogurt and muesli. The small room in the back seemed like the perfect place to rendezvous with someone while the chef’s table in the kitchen would be a good place to get some friends together. The dungeon-like storage room behind the kitchen includes a mezzanine you can rent for a private party–what New Yorker doesn’t like access to “secret” places?