It’s finally worth hoofing it out to the west side for Le District, the “French Eataly” inside Brookfield Place. The project, in the works for more than 32 months by design firm ICRAVE, is divided into four districts (like the arrondisements of Paris), and is opening in phases.
The Cafe District is already wooing shoppers with a coffee bar, candy shop, crepe counter and patisserie (serving macarons and various cakes that, in the French fashion, look almost too pretty to eat). This week, the savory Restaurant and Market districts made their debut. Rather than a traditional food hall with a collection of various restaurants, Le District is an “urban market” with 13 stations specializing in their own methods, whether it’s paté and rillettes from the charcuterie or cheese-and-fruit plates from the fromagerie.
Also open is Le Bar, a grand space that feels at once like the fancy bar in a bustling train station and as intimate as a jazz club, and Beaubourg, a bistro serving fare like frog legs and steak frites.
The food aims to include the entire world of French cuisine, from Polynesia to New Orleans, not just to eat there but to take home — the counters offer deli meats, seafood, cheeses, breads and other treats.
Still to come is the Garden District, with a market of bottled drinks and dry goods as well as a prepared food bar, said to be opening within the next couple weeks. And next month will bring L'Appart, a reservation-only tasting menu concept.
Our suggestion? For lunch, grab a seat at the circular bar area in the Market District, where you can order from any of the surrounding stations. Then, when the weather warms up enough to open the outdoor seating area next to the Hudson River, don your beret, grab a basket and fill it with all the French picnic staples to enjoy in the sun.