24 Prince

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<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Photo: Cinzia Reale-Castello

24 Prince St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-226-8624). Subway: R, W to Prince St; 6 to Spring St. Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $15.

Comfort food goes high concept at this new Nolita restaurant, just a few doors down from the popular Porcupine. Meat loaf, fried chicken, and peanut butter and jelly all make an appearance, and many old-fashioned dishes get a playful modern update. Mac and cheese, for example, is available as an appetizer but looks more like spring rolls; the stuff has been rolled into phyllo, deep fried and cut into bite-sized portions. A PB&J dessert pairs peanut-butter ice cream with jelly sauce and brioche French toast (pictured). You can even order a side of potato chips, but, honey, they shrunk the chips—by using tiny fingerling potatoes, of course. While the approach is undeniably appealing—and more cohesive than Alain Ducasse's highbrow take on comfort food at the now defunct Mix in New York—there is still room for improvement. The chicken was so lightly breaded that it barely had a crunch and, though tender and moist, it also seemed under-seasoned. Several dishes were paired with wilted greens that didn't so much compliment the main ingredient as introduce soggy bitter veggies to the plate. But these are nitpicks: 24 Prince is a superb addition to the neighborhood; the portions are generous, the prices are reasonable—$12 to $19 for an entre—and the handsomely decorated interior (lined with multicolored striped wallpaper) is comfortable, indeed.—TONY

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