"It’s like last year never happened,” somebody said after we had been sitting for a minute or two in the refreshingly loud, refreshingly crowded dining room at the new Williamsburg destination Francie. There were no masks in sight, except on the staff, and servers were dressed in the kind of familiar bistro uniforms (aprons, pressed white shirts, etc.) that made them look as if they’d been recruited by Danny Meyer himself. With its tastefully muted color tones and Haute brasserie-style (horseshoe banquettes along both walls, a bustling open kitchen in the back), the room had a nostalgic, pre-pandemic look to it, as did the menu, which included all sorts of dimly recalled delicacies, like soufflé cakes topped with caviar, rounds of ravioli stuffed with lobster, and an elaborate “crown of duck” for two, which, on the evening I ordered it, was brought to the table before carving, nestled in a garland of flowers.
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