There was something comforting about the red-awning hanging outside this Meatpacking institution. Busiest late nights, it was a welcome respite from the masses lined up to get into whatever the latest club was on a Saturday night.
The crowd at Pastis tended to be more local. Those who didn’t need a scene. Just a place for a decent drink and consistently good French food. Of course, you’d be sure to find a few transplanted Europeans seeking a taste of home. Where else could you order a carafe of Macon-Villages as the house white?
One of the last times I recall being there was after we settled a case. It was at that awkward time of the early afternoon when nothing else but diners and seedy Irish pubs were open. And neither was where you went to celebrate. So we ended up at Pastis because they never closed between lunch and dinner. This is why the place was so special. And it was always a favorite spot for celebrities who didn’t need special treatment. On this occasion, Jane Krakowski happened to be there, taking a break from starring on Broadway at the time.
Now there are few places in this neighborhood where you can have a quiet dinner or meet friends for drinks without a reservation or loud, thumping music in the background. And with the closing of Pastis today, there will be a void for those of us who could always count on it as an option. Maybe it will reopen in a renovated space or a new location, but it will not be the same. It could never be the same.
But at least you can still have the amazing Macaroni Gratin with Bacon at Balthazar. As the feeling of Pastis will always live on in Keith McNally’s empire.