Almost a month after Florent’s landlord, Joanne Lucas, decided to run the restaurant herself as a 24/7 establishment with more or less the same menu and staff, Florent’s regulars haven’t taken a shine to the new R&L; Restaurant. When we were there around 1 a.m. on Saturday night/Sunday morning, the sign behind the counter promised “Good food, energy, service, times, people, day, lovin, atmosphere, y two shoes, karma” and assured “Change is good” as well as “R&L; is swell,” but the scene in the dining room was nothing short of grim — there were only two (which soon became zero) people there, despite a blinking LED sign in the window telling folks that the place was “OPEN.” This is during rush hour in the meatpacking district.
We can only assume this is because Florent’s liquor license hasn’t yet been approved for transfer, but with a convenience store around the corner and a lenient BYOB policy, perhaps that shouldn't be a problem. Either way, with no hope of people-watching, all we could do was listen to the tunes playing from the night manager’s laptop. They were as follows.
1. “Hey Ya,” OutKast
2. “I Don’t Want to Live Forever,” Bon Jovi
3. “Jesus Walks,” Kanye West
4. “I’m Just a Girl,” Gwen Stefani
5. “Lemon,” U2
6. “Like I Love You,” Justin Timberlake
7. “Maria Maria,” Santana
8. “Ms. Jackson,” OutKast
9. “My Humps,” Black Eyed Peas
10. “Need You Tonight,” INXS
There you have it, Jersey — the place is Bon Jovi–friendly. Now go?