Lombardi’s Seafood, the longtime go-to spot for fresh fish, moved to its fresh new location on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park last month. Until then, it had occupied a warehouse at the corner of Orange Avenue and Orlando Avenue (U.S. Highway 17-92) since 1961.
The new location keeps a little bit of the warehousey feel but it has a decidedly spiffier mien. There are plenty of refrigerated display cases with the recently arrived fish and shellfish and reach-in cases for other related goodies.
And there’s a better space for a cafe than at the old location. I visited with some colleagues for a lunch meeting when the cafe was still offering a soft opening menu. It was obvious that the cafe crew were still getting used to their new space and equipment, and a soft opening menu should be taken with a grain of salt, if not a good dash of shrimp boil. But some of the shortcomings with the food we sampled had less to do with being new than with just being odd choices.
PARIS — Anyone who has asked me for restaurant recommendations in New York knows that one of my favorite spots there is Buvette, the tiny French cafe in the West Village. Wonderful food, great list of wines, excellent service from friendly engaging people. Always a joy.
So upon hearing that owner Jody Williams had opened a Buvette in Paris, I knew where I would be going as soon as I hit town. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The Paris outpost of Buvette is in the Pigalle quarter of the city’s 9th arrondissement. Like the New York restaurant, this Buvette is small, cramped even. The decor is similar, right down to the large blackboard with a chalklike outline of France's wine regions. And it's very popular. When we arrived, however, there was an open table available — which we turned down. In Greenwich Village, we always opt to sit at the bar where we can watch the plating of the food and the bustle of the amiable staff. We wanted the same here.
It took a little hovering and scoping to determine which stools would open first, but we were seated before too long and looking over the very familiar menu.