Here is one big hint that the new restaurant MPD probably wasn’t built for guys like me: I thought the name stood for Meatpacking District.
Florence Fabricant of the Times set me straight: it’s Mon Petit Déjeuner, which is French for my breakfast. The restaurant does not currently serve breakfast (the website indicates it eventually will), and how many of its likely patrons knew that anyway?
Perhaps the name is meant to be taken ironically. After a night of club-hopping, regulars will feel like breakfast, and MPD will be there for them.
MPD’s backers, Derek and Daniel Koch, are known mainly as nightlife mavens. They also have an investment from the Ginza Project, the Russians behind Mari Vanna. A French bistro might not be what you expected from this crew.
MPD is a much better restaurant than it needs to be. It won’t put Pastis out of business, although perhaps it deserves to. It serves solid bistro fare in a pretty room that that, unlike many in the area, doesn’t seem over-built. Service is civilized. You can carry on a conversation, you won’t be sitting in your neighbor’s lap, and you won’t be overrun with tourists.
Those things are all worth cheering about.
Prices are in a wide range, but a shade on the high side, with appetizers $9–19 (caviar service, $215), entrées $19–38, and sides $7–9.
I am assuming the bread basket was outsourced, but the dinner rolls were just fine, served with a plate of olive oil, into which the restaurant’s name had been “drawn” (see photo).
Both dishes I tried were what you want French bistro food to be: hearty, flavorful, solidly prepared. I loved the pork confit ($14; above left) with pickled cauliflower—nothing complicated, but the pork was nicely done. Crab Cakes Benedict ($27; above right) were offered as a special; perhaps another pun on the breakfast theme. I don’t remember seeing that before as a dinner entrée. I would be happy to have it again.
At 6:30 p.m. on a Friday evening, the restaurant was practically empty, except for the small bar up front. There were only three or four parties seated by the time I left, but it was clearly a very early hour for the area. Service was attentive, but it is not difficult to look after the only customer in the restaurant. There were a lot of staff on the floor; presumably, the “party” gets started much later on.
In a neighborhood where restaurants tend to be more functional than useful, MPD is a worthy addition. You’re not likely to find me there to sweat off a hangover. As a drop-in place after work, I’d be happy to add it to my rotation.
MPD (73 Gansevoort Street at Washington Street, Meatpacking District)