In a town where restaurants cycle through existence faster than sign companies can keep them labeled, places such as Florent are few and far between. It’s been a staple to the neighborhood for 23 years, existing even before it was dubbed the Meatpacking District. Unfortunately, this somewhat upscale French diner is being driven out of the neighborhood on June 29th because of an outrageous rent hike: from $6,000 to $50,000 per month. This is a huge shame, for sure.
I’ve never been to Florent late at night, but that’s when the crowd is known to pick up, both in quantity and the variety of characters you’ll encounter. Those who aren’t nightowls have no excuse, however: with twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week to choose from, there’s no reason not to put this one in as a meal on your planner before it leaves New York forever.
Florent’s bread is deliciously fresh, and with the butter being the perfect ratio of creamy to salty, you might just opt for two baskets (and no one could judge you for that). Service, while not overly chatty, is prompt and courteous. Their mac & cheese was good, even if not the best I’ve ever had. A mix of three cheeses (asiago, parmesean, and cheddar) combined with elbow macaroni, Florent’s version of the traditional adds roast garlic for a little kick.
The roast free range chicken was juicy, tender, and flavorful, and the fresh whipped potatoes came dangerously close to usurping the chicken. This was finished off by what else – their chocolate lava cake, which actually came out piping hot and just perfect.
If mac & cheese and chicken are too pedestrian for your tastes, worry not: those are only a taste of the diverse menu offerings. From Prince Edward Island mussels to boudin noir to steak frites, Florent’s full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu has something for everyone. There’s even a menu for “high tea”. Entrees range from $11 to $22.50 and desserts range from $5.50 to $7.
Florent is one dining experience you should not miss, especially since its days are numbered. Speaking of numbered, don’t miss the timeline above the center of the bar, where you can find restaurant-specific dates sprinkled with highlights of Florent’s life and various appropriate historical dates. With many diners in Manhattan feeling vanilla and generic, Florent is a totally unique place that will be missed by many.
The final five weeks at the restaurant will follow the Kubler Ross grief cycle:
Denial – Monday, May 26th
Anger – Monday, June 2nd
Bargaining -Monday, June 9th
Depression – Monday, June 16th
Acceptance – Saturday, June 28th
Florent, 212-989-5779, 69 Gansevoort Street. Reservations accepted and recommended.