BATTERY PARK CITY — A massive new French market is finally ready to say "bonjour" to Lower Manhattan.
Le District, a 30,000-square foot, Eataly-style food hall — but with a French accent — features two restaurants, a wine bar, fresh produce and a host of stations including those for cheese, just-baked bread, fresh fish, charcuterie, a butcher, candy and flowers.
The expansive complex, which takes up a long, ground floor at Battery Park City’s revamped Brookfield Place, is slated to open its “café district” — an area that features coffee, freshly baked waffles and crepes, along with an extensive selection of pastries — on March 27.
The rest of the space, conceptually split into three more “districts” — is aiming to open by April 1, said owner Peter Poulakakos.
“We’re very excited to open,” said Poulakakos, a restaurateur known for eateries like Harry’s Italian Financier Patisserie and, more recently, the Harbor House at Pier A. “It’s been a lot of work, and its amazing to see it all come together.”
Along with the restaurant district, there’s the central market district, which features a variety of gourmet food counters and a wine bar, with seating at each.
Le District’s Director of Operations Laurent Vasseur said the boulangerie — or bakery — plans to bake bread five times a day, to make sure “you can have hot bread in the morning, and when you go home." It also fills the space with a lovely warm bread scent all day, he added. In the market, you’ll find about 15 different types of breads, as well as nearly 200 types of cheeses, mostly of the French variety.
Another feature in the market: If you buy meat from the butcher, you can have it grilled for you at one of the counters.
In the “garden district,” which includes fresh produce and a host of largely French packaged products, you’ll also find prepared foods for grab-and-go, as well as a salad bar. But, after 4 p.m, that salad bar turns into a chocolate mousse bar, with about eight different types of mousse on the menu.
As for the restaurants, Le District will feature Beaubourg, a sit-down French eatery that has a separate bar area, called Le Bar. The same menu will be served in both spaces. They'll also have the upscale, 28-seat L’Appart, a cozy space that will feature tasting menus — and a view of the chef cooking for you. The intimate space is set up something like a living room area — hence the name, which translates to "the apartment"
By May, Le District hopes to have nearly 7,000 square-feet of outdoor space open, overlooking the Hudson River, with about 250 seats.
Le District is one piece of a massive overhaul of Brookfield Place. A large slate of retail shops is set to finally open on March 26. Eventually, more restaurants, outside of Le District, including Parm, will also open in the complex.