We recently made it to L’Appart, short for L’Appartement (Apartment in French), one of the restaurants of Le District, a French food hall located near the World Trade Center. You may not notice it when going from The District Garden (their supermarket) to The District Market with its stations and bar, as it is tucked in a hallway, like a gem that only the gourmets know. As soon as you open the wooden doors, you are greeted by David Coucke, The Maitre D’, with a house cocktail (it was a lychee, ginger and rose cocktail that was delightfully spicy) and introduced to the team, like when you go to a dinner with some friends and the host makes the introductions. Because at L’Appart, Executive Chef Nicolas Abello cooks as if you were dining at his place and what a dinner! Using seasonal produces that he sources locally, he crafts a delicious tasting menu that changes every 4 to 6 weeks, showcasing skills that got him noticed at Daniel in New York or in London at Sketch, under the wings of Pierre Gagnaire, a pioneer in “New French” cuisine. The latter explains a lot about the dishes served at L’Appart: creative, elegant and beautiful with delicious flavors. And if you are vegetarian, no problem: the Chef can accommodate as you will see below.
L’Appart is not just about food: they also have a nice selection of wine and champagne, but if one prefers a cocktail, they can accommodate any with their bar outside, in the market. They also have a nice selection of whiskey and I appreciated the fact that they serve a few French whiskeys that you rarely see on drink list. So I went for the Amorik, s single malt produced at the Warenghem distillery in Lannion, Brittany.
The amuse was a white lentil fritter served with an herbed lebne:
It was followed by a trio of canapés to be eaten from left to right:
For me: sunchoke soup with Hudson Valley foie gras, Ora King salmon topped with a carrot and finished with a wild Alaskan salmon roe, Prince Edward mussel with fennel.
For Jodi: a trio of vegetarian canapés mirroring mine and composed of a sunchoke soup with Argan oil, goat cheese in ginger bread, pearl onion stuffed with fennel.
The appetizer was a dumpling:
For me: lobster dumpling with a curry sauce.
For Jodi: vegetable dumpling with a coconut sauce.
The third course was:
For me: slow cooked Berkshire pork belly served with peanuts and apple.
For Jodi: Broccolini served with a variation of apples.
The fourth course was:
For me: scallop with a citrus brunoise.
For Jodi: cauliflower with beurre blanc.
Then, they had a great idea to do a bread course as their bread is so good that it can stand on its own. It was composed of a homemade sourdough mini-baguette and a multigrain pretzel, served with homemade butter with acacia honey and fleur de sel.
The next course was a celery root with a celery mousse topped with black truffle.
it was followed by a twist on the Grenobloise sauce that is typically made with brown butter, capers, parsley and lemon. For me, it was halibut with a piece of brioche as the skin (for some added butter taste) and for Jodi, a potato confit.
The last entree before the cheese course was for me, veal sweetbread served with shiitake mushrooms and salsify, while Jodi got the mushrooms (trumpet mushrooms with a reduction of morel mushrooms). For this course, we decided to get some black winter truffle shavings (3g for $35). The truffle was from Carpentras in France and had an incredible aroma and sublime taste.
The cheese course was like a French-American blue cheese competition with on the French side a forum d’ambert and on the American side a Bayley Hazen Blue from Vermont. I admit that my favorite was the former as creamier and richer in taste. The cheese was served with a delicious pear that was cooked in salt and was literally melting in my mouth.
The first dessert was a mini-souffle: chocolate for Jodi and praline for me.
It was followed by their take on a coffee cake, deconstructed and accompanied by a cognac cardamon ice cream.
Last, they brought us our menus with a chocolate Negroni.
This was a sublime meal in a great atmosphere that was elegant without being stuffy. It is an incredible experience that made me question the fact that they have only one Michelin Star considering the creativity and deliciousness of the food as well as the excellent service. But I am sure one is only the start of a journey.
Enjoy (I did)!
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L’Appart - 225 Liberty Street, New York, NY, 10281