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French bistro in the Village or Soho

From NJ here, and I have a friend who's coming to visit NY in two weeks for business (she currently lives in Utah). She's mostly been in the Times Square neighborhood, so I'd like to introduce her to a more funky/less touristy area. We come in to eat/drink/play frequently, so I know my way around. She likes French bistro-style food, so I'm looking for a place that will be about $35 per person before drinks, tax, and tip. We'll be a party of four. Maybe something like Marseille in Hell's Kitchen, which I thought was very good and a good value (I had the shrimp beignets and steak frites). This crowd probably won't all order desserts or apps, but rather two or three to share for the table. TIA!

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  1. If you liked Marseille, the obvious choice would be Balthazar, but it would cost at least 50 per cent in excess of your budget. Still, something to consider, especially if your friend is coming all the way from Utah -- there can be some choice people-watching, and the space screams French brasserie.

    Pastis in the Meatpacking and Lucky Strike in SoHo could fall within your budget, sans dessert. They're both fun and look the part. Neither offers food as good as Balthazar though.

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    Pastis
    9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

    Balthazar
    80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    Lucky Strike
    59 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

    1 Reply
    1. re: Winterpool

      Thanks winterpool. We can go up a bit in price, but the problem is that my partner's BD is next Friday, and I'm planning to take him to a NY steakhouse, and I'm torn between Strip House and Keen's. That's going to put a big dent in October's eating out budget, but a birthday only comes once a year, and I don't see this friend very often, so maybe I can justify it.

    2. What about La Sirene? Itty bitty, cash only, but within your budget and very, very full of charm.

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      La Sirene
      558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

      1 Reply
      1. re: loratliff

        Thanks for the replies. Any other suggestions?

      2. Buvette only serves small plates and costs can add up if you or your friend has a large appetite. I think $35 would feed someone with a medium-sized appetite plenty, though, especially since a lot of the dishes are very rich.

        Take a look and see if this is the type of food you're looking for:

        http://menupages.com/restaurants/buve...

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        Buvette
        42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

        2 Replies
        1. re: michelleats

          Good suggestion. Last time I was at Buvette, we ended up about $30 per person before wine, etc.

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          Buvette
          42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: loratliff

            Any thoughts on how the food compares to La Sirene? I've never been and the menu looks very good. (It's finally cassoulet weather!!)

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            La Sirene
            558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

        2. WV and soho seem like tough neighborhoods for that budget. The east village has tons of bistros of varying degrees of quality, many that come in closer to 35.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hey19

            EV is fine--maybe I should have said that. I'll check out Buvette. Thanks!

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            Buvette
            42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

          2. You might consider Le Gigot on Cornelia in the Village. It has more charm than any of the other places mentioned, and the food is delicious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mahler5

              Le Gigot used to be my favourite New York bistro, but I haven't been in several years. If I recall correctly, however, it would be difficult to afford within the OP's budget. In retrospect, Buvette seems like it would have been the right choice for her. I wonder where she wound up.

              1. re: mahler5

                Was at Le Gigot in July. Nothing to write home about. Food was a B at best, atmosphere a B+ and drinks list was an F.

              2. I've personally never been there but I heard good things about cercle rouge on west broadway below canal and bistro les Amis on Thompson and spring..