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Chef Andrew Carmellini is returning to French cuisine with the opening of Lafayette, his new project with restaurateurs Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard – the winning team behind blockbusters Locanda Verde and the Dutch.

The message you get from the moment you walk into the brightly mirrored and tiled restaurant is “save room for dessert.” Up front, where one would expect a bar, is a retail bakery and pastry shop, stacked high with well-burnished breads and croissants by Per Se veteran James Belisle and bright tartlets and macarons by former Aureole pastry chef Jen Yee.

Craft alum Damon Wise is working as the chef de cuisine and the menu focuses on the country’s rustic south: House-made ravioli au pistou reps the eastern tip butting against Italy; grilled octopus with smoky eggplant and pipérade pledges allegiance to the Basque border; and roasted lamb chops with burnt orange and olives evoke France’s Moroccan ties.

Here’s a look around the space, which was designed by Roman & Williams.

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4-28-2013 2-46-31 PM Josh Pickard, Andrew Carmellini and Luke Ostrom at Lafayette

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Ravioli au pistou

4-28-2013 2-49-06 PM Seafood salad

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 Tripe bourguignonne

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5-1-2013 11-43-06 AM The front bakery area at Lafayette.

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380 Lafayette St at Great Jones St (212-533-3000)

Katie Sokoler – Gothamist

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