The opening night, grand re-opening at R&L Restaurant in the Meatpacking District was literally a free for all. The place (formerly Florent) has been missed by a group of West Village irregulars, B-list celebs, and nouvelle MPD revelers in Manolos searching for authentic charm.
After the DOH shut the place down, Florent Morellet left and Joanne Lucas (daughter of the L from the iconic sign that has graced the front of the restaurant all along) took the place back and restored the old-school name. The menue and decor remain nearly identical to what they were under Florent. The soft opening has gone on for a bout a week, but last night marked the official grand re-opening, and Ms. Lucas offered free vittles to invited family and friends and anyone else lucky enough to stagger in. Balloons festooned the outside, and one impatient adolescent was giving them quite a beating when we happened by. The crown inside was considerably calmer, though the whole thing had a family gathering feel, right down to the open family feud-style letter from Joanne Lucas to the locals to absolve herself of Florent's leaving (and he wasn't really all that great anyway, she seems to say.)