The owner of this Casanis stole the name and chef (Sebastian Maczko) from the old Casanis, which used to sit where Prune now does on First Street. The 60-seat interior shows no sign of original thinking: The wooden bar, oversize mirror and traditional menu could have come from any other bistro-brasserie in the city. But this is not a bad thing: The food, wine and service are perfectly pleasant. The menu is not jaw-droppingly creative, and the food is not tongue-waggingly delicious. But it’s all good enough to warrant return trips. You’ll want to dip bread into the escargot bowl. You’ll like the thin, crisp fries that come with the juicy steak. Even the roasted duck breast was a keeper—mostly because of the things the chef didn’t do: It wasn’t overcooked, chewy, annoyingly fatty, dry or drowning in sauce. The one area where Casanis fails to compete with the established bistros is in the buzz category: Crowds have not yet discovered the place (or maybe we just went on the wrong nights).
81 Ludlow St
|Cross street:||at Broome St|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed noon–1am; Thu, Fri noon–3am; Sat 11am–4pm, 5pm–3am; Sun 11am–4pm, 5pm–1am|
|Transport:||Subway: F to Delancey St; J, Z, M to Delancey–Essex Sts|
|Price:||Average main course: $20. AmEx, MC, V|