Jason Polan is an artist friend of Lucky Peach. He’s currently drawing every person in New York, but every once in a while he files something on what he’s eating while he’s drawing.
I am sitting at Lafayette the restaurant and cafe on Broadway. (Just kidding it is on Lafayette (and Great Jones)). It is just a couple doors down from the door that was in the photograph on the cover of the first edition of Don DeLillo’s Great Jones Street! (I think the door itself has changed and the cool “31” painted on the building is gone, but you can still see it/pose for a photo in front of it; it’s the door to the right of Vic’s restaurant.)
Anyways, I have been coming here, Lafayette, for a while now because I like their iced coffee and the gold lettering on their windows (and I also just ate an eclair with gold ON IT more on this in Vol. 2 of whatever this column is called). I feel sort of fancy at Lafayette (I assume most of the dudes that come here subscribe to Monocle and I don’t) so I usually just grab an iced coffee (the ice cubes have a good cube shape and the coffee tastes really good) and meander out.
Just recently though I noticed a little wooden tree hung with soft pretzels on top of their pastry display case thing. While I think of soft pretzels as hot dog cart food more than I do as fancy restaurant food, I thought: hey I’ll try a fancy pretzel.
And holy crap, guys. They are, I think, the best soft pretzels in New York City. They are flaky, but I think that is at least partially coming from the consistency of the shaved (is this possible?) salt flakes on the buttery dark brown pretzel skin. Pretzel skin haha copyright.
They are a touch smaller than pretzels you would buy from a street vendor. They are also a little darker/goldener/glossier than the street vendor ones. They also have inconsistencies, or CHARACTER if you will, in their shape. The dough width is not uniform which makes for surprise bits that are nice on the palate. (I am not sure about that last sentence sorry, but that is how I feel please go with me.) When it gets thin it is nice because the outside (or “pretzel skin” again) gets kind of well done/dark/chewy and in the thicker parts the doughy inside has this subtle butteriness that while you are eating it, you are not thinking, “this is buttery!” you are more thinking, “whoa how does this taste so good!?” I think the answer is butter but what do I know.
Sometimes I am hesitant to recommend things to people because it is more fun to find things on your own and also I don’t want people going there and eating all of the pretzels before me, but whatever, go there and eat a pretzel! Tell them Jason sent you! They will have no idea who you are talking about.