BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
What’s On… Lafayette Street (btwn Spring and Kenmare)
In uber trendy Soho, there are plenty of places that are all trend and no substance. Fortunately for us, Lafayette Streethas some can’t miss food finds – a welcome break to the plethora of shopping in the area. Stop by the Cleveland Place park for a second (that’s all it’ll take to check out this small piece of green), named for President Grover Cleveland who was also at one time the governor of New York City. Other noteworthy, if not morbid, places of interest on the block include former bar, The Falls, where graduate student Imette St. Guillen was last seen leaving with the bouncer who later raped and murdered her and the home of famed NYC DJ, DJ AM who was found dead in his apartment at 210 Lafayette.
212 Lafayette Street – Cafe Select
This European style bistro attracts the European style hipster set. The pleasant atmosphere complements the solid menu and carefully selected wine list, making Cafe Select a hot spot no matter what the time of day. Stop by for brunch and try the Croque Monsieur, but don’t forget your reservation or you might be in for a long wait!
218 Lafayette Street – Osteria Morini
This upscale Italian is the brainchild of talented chef Michael White . The rustic Northern Italian fare pays homage to Chef White’s time spent under his mentor, Gianluigi Morini in the Emilia-Romagna region ofItaly. Don’t leave without trying the pasta (any dish is worth your time), or any one of the antipasti and leave full – very full.
222 Lafayette Street – Ed’s Lobster Bar
The lobster roll at Ed’s Lobster Bar rivals most that can be found on the New England coastline. It’s a bold statement, but when you take the first bite you’ll surely understand. Chef/owner Ed McFarland creates other New England Summertime favorites such as clam chowder and whole bellied fried clams at this flagship location as well as two other smaller outposts (Battery Park City and Lower East Side).
224 Lafayette Street – Jack’s Wife Freda
Jack’s Wife Freda’s cuisine can only be understood by looking at where husband and wife team, Dean and Maya Jankelowitz have come from. The menu blends Israeli and South African food in a way that only your grandmother could. The understated, simple (yet not cold) decor lends itself to the young and beautiful who romp Soho, but should be enjoyed by all. Great for brunch (try the Shakshuka), but go for dinner if you want to avoid most of the crowd.
62 Spring Street – Spring Street Natural
While this sprawling restaurant calls Spring Street home, its windows and outdoor seating take a good chunk of real estate fromLafayette. Established in 1973, Spring Street Natural has been a fixture in the diets of Soho residents for longer than most can say – which is a good thing; Spring Street Natural focuses on minimally processed, organic whole foods (a step ahead of its time, I’d say) with reasonable prices to boot. No wonder why this place is always crowded.