Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Dining section of the Times today has a surprisingly moving audio slide show about the history of Restaurant Florent, the last bastion of cool to hit the Meatpacking District, narrated by owner Florent Morellet.
Ever since I moved to New York eleven years ago, Florent has been a mainstay in my late night dining rotation. While I was never one to hit the clubs, much less Hogs and Heifers, Florent would beckon when those 3AM cravings took hold even if I was no where near the Far West Side. I remember seeing Q-Tip there one very early morning many years ago, eating dinner with a beautiful woman. To this day, it remains one of my favorite celebrity sightings.
More recently my forays to Florent have been during somewhat respectable hours for dinner with friends or a glass of Lillet at the bar. The vibe and style of Florent is in a class by itself, and while I relish old-school restaurants that hark back to the 20s or 30s, I also really love (especially being a child of the 80s) the unattainably cool New York of say, Unique Boutique, Desperately Seeking Susan, and yes, Restaurant Florent.
When I heard that Florent was closing, I asked Monsieur Morellet if he would be so kind as to donate some menus to the Library. He most graciously obliged and now, I'm pleased to say, the Library's menu collection has a nice range of his quirky menus (designed by Tibor Kalman's M&Co) including one from 1985, the year Desperately Seeking Susan was released and opened my eyes to a new world, and the year Florent opened its doors and changed the Meatpacking District forever.
I can't image any future NYC historian researching the Meatpacking District without referring to Florent, and I'm hoping that these menus will allow for a richer and more detailed look at this uniquely New York neighborhood.