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We didn't think that Lincoln Center could get any better, until Epicerie Boulud, Daniel Boulud's first market and dine-in café, came to the neighborhood last week.

Situated next to the new Boulud Sud, the Epicerie has house-made sausages and pastries, made-to-order sandwiches and the most impressive selection of cheeses above 14th Street: it's both airy Parisian market (the perfect place to gather picnic provisions) and relaxed café (guests sip rosé al fresco while they people-watch before the ballet).

On a recent visit, we selected Niçoise salads ($9) and pâté-de-campagne sandwiches ($14) from a display case of gorgeous prepared foods, and ordered fresh raspberry macarons ($2 each) and café au laits ($2.50) from the adjacent patisserie. It was the next best thing to lunch on the Champs Élysées.

And about that fromage: The Epicerie sells hard-to-find varieties like Tomme Crayeuse, and Boulud has hired renowned cheesemonger Anne Saxelby to give the staff tutorials after hours. Employees are happy to give samples, so be sure to try the Slyboro, which is washed in apple cider and created exclusively for the Epicerie by Consider Bardwell Farm ($28 a pound).

The upscale, one-stop shop lets you pick up baguettes, charcuterie and imported goods like Confitures d'Alizee jams and Huilerie Beaujolaise vinegars. After 4 p.m., the Epicerie turns into an oyster bar, for refined happy hours with wine and Wellfleets.

Bravo, Boulud.

Epicerie Boulud, 1900 Broadway (at 64th st.); 212-595-9606 or

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