Jack

Manhattan – Greenwich Village

Jack

80 University Pl at 11th St
Manhattan, NY

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Time Out NY This midsize budget bistro seems custom-tailored to the NYU crowd; it services night-owl students with late dinners and all-day breakfasts. A Village offshoot of the South Street Seaport"s Bridge Café, Jack (named for the owner"s father) is a diner--the burger is coyly called a "croque Americaine"--masquerading as a sultry French restaurant. Potted orchids and lantern lights suggest romance and fine dining, but the menu doesn"t aim so high. Jack"s food covers all the usual bistro bases: onion soup, pâté, mussels and so on. The thin, crisp fries were truly a highlight; other dishes paled in comparison. The steak au poivre we tried was scrawny, chewy, and flavorless. Warmed-over out-of-the-shell escargots arrived drowning in an overpowering wine sauce. A Gruyère-and-onion tart was a gooey, clumsy mess. The roast chicken, with crisp skin and buttery green beans, offered some solace. Dessert delivered even more: The profiteroles made a compelling finale, despite an overkill topping of caramel, chocolate, whipped cream and nuts. And a personal pot of chocolate fondue was silly but fun. Order wisely and you"ll get what you pay for--thoughtful service, decent-enough ambience and a filling, if unremarkable, meal.

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  • Average main course: $15. AmEx, Disc, MC, V

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