Back story: The tiny fine-dining restaurant within Le District opened some time after the rest of Brookfield Place’s French-themed marketplace/food hall, and chef Nicolas Abello and company received a Michelin star last fall.
The atmosphere: You could easily miss the entrance, located between the restaurant and market parts of Le District. The notion is that you’re dining in the chef’s apartment, but with the seven tables scattered around the room, the room doesn’t feel especially residential (or quite as pretty as it is in photographs). We were seated side by side at a four-top, which always makes me feel like I’m flying first-class. The greeting was fussy—you’re ladled a glass of rum punch right inside the door, then introduced to the chefs in the the open kitchen—but the service subsequently turned excellent, gracious but friendly. (We watched in amazement as another guest responded to the arrival procedure by introducing his companion and himself to the kitchen, something that never even occurred to us.)
The menu: According to the reservation confirmation, the menu changes every two weeks. It’s a set menu, with an option to have more than one plat principal ($105 for one, $125 for two, $145 for three). Already wary of being overfed, we opted for one plat, but the chef wanted us to try the mackerel, so we were given that, too. And we had the $85 wine pairing, because thorough research is an important part of any restaurant review.
Gold star: We both thought the food was very good, if not groundbreaking. Highlights included the chestnut truffle yogurt dish, which sits under a disk of fried potato threads; a little pot of white beans and cod that we were served instead of foie gras (at our request); and the chocolate/ginger/orange dessert pictured at the bottom. The staff seemed to genuinely care what we thought of everything, and they were generous with the wine, regularly offering to top us off.
Room for improvement: As with so many expensive experiences, it helps to know what you value—in this case, intimacy or grandeur? If you’re looking for excellent food in a cozy room—a romantic evening without having to get in a car—L’Appart is likely to please. Someone craving more theater, however, might be turned off by the small scale and the occasional awkwardness.
Anything else: Adam was miffed at having to pay $105 per person if we were to cancel within 48 hours of the reservation, but I was sympathetic. This isn’t the kind of restaurant that gets (or wants) walk-in business. Also, there’s outdoor seating in summer.
Contact: L’Appart is inside Le District at Brookfield Place, 225 Liberty; 212-981-8577; lappartnyc.com.
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