Crispo or The Place on W 10th or Grano Trattoria or or or??
I'm meeting a couple who are old friend of my boyfriend this Saturday night. He's in town from Europe and they live in Brooklyn but will come to the west village for dinner. he hasn't seen them for awhile and we'd like to find somewhere moderate, relaxed, on the quiet end of the spectrum for NYC dining.... where the company is the dominate focus but where the food compliments the experience. Any cuisine. i had the above three in mind (never been to Crispo and afraid it will be too lod) Any other ideas?? THANKS!
that's a tough request. as you know, the west village as a whole is an extremely popular dining spot, esp. on weekends. you'll probably have to sacrifice a little in terms of the food quality and go to one of the "under the radar", old-school, or "forgotten" places to get the ambience you're seeking. any place that has really good food and/or has been hyped in the ny times, ny magazine, time out ny, or zagat will be a madhouse on weekend nights. actually, this is true even if the food's mediocre so long as the hype machine is running on all cylinders; it's amazing what people will believe in ny.
one place that might meet your criteria, though, is marinella restaurant, a somewhat stodgy italian standby on carmine st at bedford st. the food's ok and the space is unremarkable, which is the reason why it's not a big "scene". i can't guarantee that it won't be loud on saturday, as i haven't been there in quite some time, but in my limited experience it has been calm and civil, with a somewhat older crowd.
a place with better food that might also be relaxed on saturday night is le gigot, a french bistro on cornelia street. the place is tiny and intimate, and from my experience it has never been a zoo in there.
Marinella is fine but Jarnac may be more interesting, a small and quiet French bistro. Les Deux Gamins is another option. I'm not a fan of The Place. Grano has really good pizza and salads; I'm less fond of their main courses.
Crispo isn't quiet, but it's not loud enough that it gets in the way of conversation. I don't like The Place either. Haven't been to Grano. Cafe de Bruxelles is quiet, but it's a very informal atmosphere.
I love the Place on West 10th. I haven't tried the others but each time I have visited The Place it has been a pleasant experience. They get my vote hands down!