Food Wonderland Le District Opens in Battery Park City
With the massive Hudson Eats now completely filled with vendors (Northern Tiger and its first-rate noodles snagged the final spot this spring), does Battery Park City's Brookfield Place really need more places to eat? Well, yeah, sure… especially if you're talking about Le District, the sprawling "Eataly but with French food" market/restaurant/wine bar/cafe complex which opened last month on the ground floor right off the Winter Palace and, after a staggered start, is now operating at full capacity. The look of the place is kind of contemporary-industrial, with concrete floors, raw metal details, and low ceilings throughout the marketplace, with a more fancy vibe within the main restaurant and bar area. The legions of staffers and servers behind the counters and roaming the floor are helpful, friendly, and efficient. And though prices are high–I noticed several items right off the bat that were many dollars more than what they cost at nearby Whole Foods–the quality level of the fresh foods at Le District seems to be equally so, and will likely be appreciated by BPC locals looking for last-minute hors d'oeuvres or a nice piece of meat or fish to cook for dinner.
Welcome To Le District
I've wandered around Le District a couple of times now, and certain sections here will definitely become part of my regular Battery Park City rotation. Le Comptoir, for example, which is Le District's casual wine bar at the heart of the market, features an appealing, wrap-around, two-sided communal counter, and is a terrific spot for grabbing French-menu favorites at gentle prices. My Steak Frites, for example, was a generous slab of sirloin, maybe a tad overcooked (I'm getting it straight-up rare next time) but well seasoned and served with a mound of good salty fries and a salad, all for $18. But my favorite thing to eat so far at Le District has to be the by-the-pound cookies sold right up front at the complex's sweet shop, La Cure Gourmande. They're pricey for sure–four small-looking but often super-dense cookies will set you back at least eight bucks–but if you're a fan of that dry-ish crumbly cookie genre (but with big flavors!) you have to get at least a few.
What To Eat At Le District
Even if you never dine at Le District's expensive (but pretty) brasserie Beaubourg, nor snack your way through a happy hour at the funky (and quite lively) Le Bar, there are still lots of ways to take advantage of this huge new space, now that all the individual "shops" are up, running and overflowing with French(ish) delights. There's an individual station dedicated to cheese, for example, and one for meat, and for flowers, and coffee, and bakery stuff, and chocolate, and fish, and prepared food, and dairy products, and lots of grocery items scattered about. It's not the madhouse that Eataly can be (though you'll encounter more than a few tourists here), and the navigation through the space feels intuitive. Basically: a welcome addition to the area, for residents and visitors alike.
For More Information on Le District
Le District is located at 225 Liberty Street in Brookfield Place, though the easiest entrance to find is probably through the Winter Palace. Hours vary depending on the "District" (you can coffee and a pastry at 6:30 a.m., but you'll have to wait until 10:00 to buy a piece of fish, or 11:00 to get a drink at Le Bar), but it's pretty much open all day and well into the night. Lots more information about all things Le District can be found here.