The Public Theater really does have lots to celebrate this weekend. They've got a newly redone exterior, a still-fresh Joe's Pub renovation, and, most exciting for the fancy food fans who also like theater, they've got a brand new eating area with food from no less than The Dutch's Andrew Carmellini (who just happens to also be opening a new French restaurant soon down the block). Pizza popcorn, anyone?

Now, we haven't actually been to the new restaurant, named The Library after the Public Theater building's original purpose, but having had Carmellini's food at the Dutch and Locanda Verde the newcomer's menu certainly has our attention. There are a number of "sharable" plates like that popcorn ($5) and cured meats and cheeses ($17), but also starters like grilled shrimp with a basil-yogurt sauce ($16), basic sandwiches and mains like sea scallops, parsnip and sweet and sour apple ($26). All of which sounds like a slight step up from our usual pre-Public Pommes Frites and San Loco ritual.

As for the decor? The Rockwell Group-designed space on the mezzanine level of the Public seems to embrace the building's history as the Astor Library. Expect comfy banquettes, some books on the walls, lots of wood and a nice bar to sidle up to. Also, it appears, a gate.

The Library opens nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., with dinner going until midnight. After the witching hour a "Curtain Call" menu kicks in.

425 Lafayette Street // 212-539-8777