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I vowed never to post a "where should i eat?" question here but I am stuck. My parents are coming from PA for a visit. Tonight on the phone my dad requested a place that is not too noisy, that the table is not too small, that won't mind if we want to linger, and that is within 5 to 10 blocks of the corner of Canal and Varick Street.

I have lived here for over 10 years, I work in the neighborhood and I eat out very often. Still, I am at a complete loss for a Soho-ish spot that fits the bill.

He said he'd be happy to go somewhere expensive if it fits into the criteria above but that means a maximum or $30 for an entree. Nothing too (his words, not mine) adventurously "ethnic". That means mexican, italian, spanish, german, french are ok but probably not indian, thai, japanese, moroccan, etc.

We're not trying to just go to a deli for a sandwich. A real sit down meal with at the very least wine and beer, preferrably full bar. Anyone have any suggestions?

I thought maybe Cupping Room, Mercer Kitchen, Numero 28 PIzza Romana, or Jardin Bistro. If you think I am wrong on any of these, I'd like to know that, too.

Many thanks!

Mercer Kitchen
99 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

Cupping Room Cafe
359 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Numero 28
196 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

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  1. next time go to Capsouto Freres. the restaurant has great food, great service, and the owners are gracious, warm, and sincere.

    Capsouto Freres
    451 Washington St, New York, NY 10013

    1. Blue Ribbon Brasserie; Raoul's

      Blue Ribbon Brasserie
      97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

      1 Reply
      1. re: chow_gal

        Love Blue Ribbon Brasserie but it's pretty noisy and crowded in there, and they definitely would mind if you linger since they're usually a bunch of parties waiting to be seated.

        Blue Ribbon Brasserie
        97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

      2. Kenmare? Had a great meal there; might be a bit further than what you want, though.

        Locanda Verde? Feel like that might be too loud, depending on the night.

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

        1. I've never eaten in Greenwich Grill (only in the sushi restaurant in the basement, Sushi Azabu). It's Italian food with a Japanese touch. But each time I've walked in, it's been pretty quiet and feels rather spacious for Manhattan.

          Greenwich Grill
          428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

          Sushi Azabu
          428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

          1 Reply
          1. re: kathryn

            Second Greenwich Grill, except it might be a tad fusiony for muppetdiner's dad since it's a more expensive version of Basta Pasta (Japanese style pasta and Italian food).

          2. I stopped going to Jardin Bistro several years ago because of how uncomfortably squashed together the tables were. I don't remember whether they were small or not, but we definitely didn't want to linger.

            1. Cercle Rouge or L'Ecole

              Cercle Rouge
              241 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              1. Is Aquagrill too cramped?

                Perry Street would be perfect but it might be pushing your geographical boundary.

                Perry Street
                176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

                210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                1. I had brunch at Aurora on Broome off of Varick by a block or two. It was very good. The restaurant is very cozy and not too cramped. Brunch was quiet but not sure about dinner.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: momosz

                    I second Aurora. It is perfect for your needs. The food is very good and not exorbitant and the service is gracious. It's not loud. You will be able to linger if you like.

                  2. Jane might work. It's on the far end but still less than 10 blocks away. Full bar, solid american style food, not too cramped. Was going to suggest Jean Claude but they don't have a full bar.

                    Jean Claude
                    137 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                    1. Piccola Cucina at Prince and Sullivan. Great food, good service. Kinda small but they never rushed us out. Your Dad may find the table a little small but that is because the plates are huge. You can read the menu because it isnt too dark and you can easily have a conversation. (His criteria made me laugh thinking of my father's request of "No glass plates" wherever we went.)

                      Piccola Cucina
                      184 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ciomar

                        Thanks guys. Love Aurora, but everytime I go its pretty packed. I think at 5pm we will probably be ok though. It's between Aurora and Bar Artisanal at this point (because Bar Artisanal is always, always empty).

                        Ciomar, that's pretty funny. My dad also really can't stand that they automatically bring water to the table because he doesn't like water. He actually seems to think the waitstaff are trying to antagonize them because of it. Will definitely try Piccola Cucina on my own some day soon.

                        efdee thanks for the heads up on jardin. i only ever walk by in the day time when it is pretty empty.

                        kathryn, thanks for the heads up on blue ribbon. that would've been my first choice if not for your tip.

                        Bar Artisanal
                        268 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                        Piccola Cucina
                        184 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

                      2. Pepolino!

                        281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rrems

                          As always we agree, will be there next week.

                        2. Re: Jardin Bistro. The last time we were there, the food was rather mediocre.

                          We went to Cercle Rouge for the first time recently. The French bistro-style cuisine was delicious, service was excellent, table sizes are decent, and they will not rush you out if you want to linger. However, I can't judge the noise level when it's very busy because we were there early on a Sunday evening, and there were only a few tables occupied.

                          Cercle Rouge photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: RGR

                            Ditto RGR on Jardin Bistro. Bar Artisinal is ALWAYS packed-- at least with drinkers-- and it is noisy-crazy in there. I know, because my business uses the hotel it is attached to for our clients, and I am there at all hours.

                            Ten minutes.... walking? cab? I know it is probably out of your price range, but I just took a group to Scalini Fedeli (have been many times). he $68 3 course prix fixe is fabulous, you can sit all night, and it is quiet and elegant. The old old (old?) Bouley Space on Duane at Hudson. It's a 10 min walk from Canal and Varick, at least the way I walk. ;-)

                            Scalini Fedeli
                            165 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

                            1. re: simetrias

                              Scalini Fedeli's website says the prix fixe is $65. Not that the small difference is going to fit the budget...

                          2. My husband and I just went to Cafe Espanol yesterday for lunch (on Bleeker) and enjoyed it so much. Authentic Spanish cuisine, lovely waitstaff, comfortable seating, full bar. I can't wait to go back !