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Inside Le District, Battery City’s French Food Mecca

10420047_1581983025383139_6939465035209146954_nHudson Eats is already one of New York’s most impressive new food halls.  But the long-awaited debut of Le District — a 30,000-square foot market and dining mecca on the ground floor of Brookfield Place— has really put it over the top.  Essentially the French version of Eataly, the gleaming, gourmet mecca is divided into four major sections; the “Market District,” the “Garden District,” the “Café District” and the “Restaurant District;” which is home to three separate eateries.

So here’s a helpful primer on what you’ll find in each bustling quadrant of Le District, from fromageries and florists, to prepared food counters and coffee bars.

Le-District-fromagerie2-420x280Market District: Shop like the Parisians do, by stocking up on gorgeous meats, breads and cheeses at a variety of different specialty shops, scattered throughout the market.  Stop at the fromagerie for brie de maux, the boulangerie for crusty baguettes, the charcuterie for duck confit, and the poissonerie for tins of caviar, then enjoy an impromptu picnic at the 7,000-foot outdoor pier.  Or, prepare for an utterly elegant dinner at home by picking up Cornish hens at the rotisserie or filet mignon at the boucherie, plus a delicate bouquet of fresh-cut flowers from the chic fleuriste.  Peckish after all that shopping?  Le Comptoir is the Market District’s stylish, on-site champagne and oyster bar, offering a seasonal wine list and a tasty, rotating array of nibbles.

french_garden_duo1Garden District: The “Garden” is where you’ll go to pick up pristine produce, yes, but also spices and herbs, packaged goods, prepared foods and salads (FYI; the salad bar actually turns into a chocolate mousse bar after 4pm, carrying up to eight variations of the creamy, cocoa dessert.  Say whaaat?)  There’s also a graceful café nearby, selling whole beans, coffee to go, and even more sweets and snacks.

Café District: The Garden District isn’t the only place to get hopped up on sugar and caffeine.  The Café District actually specializes in both — serving up silky cappuccinos and espressos, to be enjoyed extralargewith delicacies from the patisserie (such as macarons, croissants, éclairs, made-to-order crepes and Belgian waffles), confections from the chocolat bar; including truffles, nougat and toffee, and colorful treats from the first US outpost of the Parisian candy wonderland, La Cure Gourmande.

Restaurant District: Not only is Le District positively brimming with gourmet shops and markets, cozy cafes and tasty to-go counters, but it boasts three different, sit-down restaurants as well.  Chief amongst them is the Beaubourg, an exceedingly French boite serving classic brasserie fare, like Fruits de Mer, Salmon en restaurants-img1Papillote and Steak Frites.  Then there’s the intimate L’Appart, meant to feel like a European flat, where chef Jordi Vallès (an El Bulli alum, and Le District’s culinary director) prepares tasting menus right before your eyes.  And finally, there’s the succinctly named Le Bar, a sexy spot serving fine wines and cocktails, that can be enjoyed (weather permitting) either inside or out.  Sounds très jolie.

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