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From Lifethyme to Florent

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Yesterday began in misery and ended in triumph. Lifethyme (organic shop on 6th at 8th street) has hot food and a great area upstairs to eat away and gaze at the Jefferson Market library tower. Organic ingredients used, usually herb-rubbed roasted chickens, yams, good greens. The chicken was way undercooked in the middle: pointed it out to a manager who explained that "Organic chicken is always pink inside." When I observed how salmonella enjoy living in undercooked poultry, the little boss offered to cook it longer in their upstairs kitchen. A refund was then offered but no effort or intent expressed to check their other birds. . . perhaps a subtle revenge by a vegetarian?
Florent for dinner. First a glance at a nearby French bistrot (corner of Little W. 12th St) - forgettable name, millions spent on tiles, fake nicotine stains rubbed into the ceiling and cliches adorning the awnings: "Vin du Pays" (If we are in New York City, does this imply a Alpes Marittimes du Staten Island Blanc?). As they serve burgers and pastas amidst French decor, it seems as though the Epcot concept has entrenched itself the meat-packing zone.
But Florent was excellent: fine Cote du Rhone red, perfectly fried catfish with buttery well-whipped potatoes, string beans fresh and cooked to perfection. Not so many French dishes but all well made. Noisy and crowded but so dependable.

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  1. r
    rebeccahodgson

    As a SI denizen, I could only sigh and wish that were true! in the two years I have lived her now, I have found one and only one decent (not great - just decent - and a 20-25 minute drive from my house)liquor store on SI for wine. If only there were a few good vineyards....

    1. j
      Jessica Shatan

      Could the pretentious bistro be PASTIS-- the meat-pack no-res. outpost of Balthazar? If so your description is hilarious and delightful. I am so sick of every place having to be a bistro and have red and gold color schemes and brass fixtures. True, Balthazar started it (and IS truly beautiful down to the type on the menu, the bags from the bakery, etc.) and has been so successful that the bandwagon effect couldn't be helped. NY is such a bandwagon kind of town! (And while we're at it, why is sushi suddenly everywhere, at chinese restaurants, etc.--maybe I'll boycott all non-japanese places that have sushi and all not-really-french places that call themselves bistros!). END OF RANT.
      P.S. This bistro thing seems to be some kind of "branding" thing gone haywire...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jessica Shatan

        Yes it was Pastis. Pastiche would have been a more apt name for them. Gosh what dum-dums get hooked in by Haute Epcot-Bistrot and they end up scarfin' on the same burgers that a genuine greasy spoon would slog.

        1. re: Allan Evans

          Aren't Pastis and Balthazaar run by the same guy?

      2. mmmmmmm...Florent. I love that place. I wouldn't order the meatloaf monster though. I mean country sandwich. I don't know what I was thinking, but when it arrived, my fellow diners gasped and said "what is THAT" it was too late. I knew that I better put several layers of napkins on my lap,grab the shovel and begin. This thing didn't resemble any sandwich I had seen before. You've been warned. I've been happy with everything else there though. it's a fun place. and as far as Pastis goes:
        I'm sure the food is "ok" The way I look at it is, let the people who go there, stay there. It means that they aren't in the place where I'm enjoying a better meal.

        1. Lifethyme is supposed to open a branch on the UWS, right around the corner from my apartment. They took over an old Burger King. But the signs on the windows have been there for months and months ("Goodbye fast food, hello real food" "Yesterday flame-broiled, today free-range").

          Does anyone have a hint if they will ever open?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Peter

            It's like waiting for Godot. As if their name--Lifethyme--has been taken literally. I've stopped looking at my 2000 calendar--and have purchased one for the NEXT millenniun. I live on the UPW and pass that empty cavity every day. All I can say is that the place better be pretty special when it opens--or I'm going to boycott it for taking so long to ressurect itself. "Good-by Fast Food--Hello At LAST Food."

            The worst part is that I was hoping a decent restaurant would open at that spot. We Upper West Siders never get a break.

          2. are you talking about "Le Gans"

            anyway this is the funniest review i've read in a while!

            >nearby French bistrot (corner of
            Little W. 12th St) - forgettable >name, millions spent on tiles, fake nicotine
            stains rubbed into the ceiling and >cliches adorning the awnings: "Vin du
            Pays" (If we are in New York City, does this imply a Alpes Marittimes du
            Staten Island Blanc?). As they serve burgers and pastas amidst French decor,
            it seems as though the Epcot concept has entrenched itself the meat-packing
            zone.