This midsize budget bistro seems custom-tailored to the NYU crowd; it services night-owl students with late dinners and all-day breakfasts. A Village offshoot of the South Street Seaport’s Bridge Café, Jack (named for the owner’s father) is a diner—the burger is coyly called a “croque Americaine”—masquerading as a sultry French restaurant. Potted orchids and lantern lights suggest romance and fine dining, but the menu doesn’t aim so high. Jack’s food covers all the usual bistro bases: onion soup, pâté, mussels and so on. The thin, crisp fries were truly a highlight; other dishes paled in comparison. The steak au poivre we tried was scrawny, chewy, and flavorless. Warmed-over out-of-the-shell escargots arrived drowning in an overpowering wine sauce. A Gruyère-and-onion tart was a gooey, clumsy mess. The roast chicken, with crisp skin and buttery green beans, offered some solace. Dessert delivered even more: The profiteroles made a compelling finale, despite an overkill topping of caramel, chocolate, whipped cream and nuts. And a personal pot of chocolate fondue was silly but fun. Order wisely and you’ll get what you pay for—thoughtful service, decent-enough ambience and a filling, if unremarkable, meal.
80 University Pl
|Cross street:||at 11th St|
|Opening hours:||Daily 8am–midnight|
|Transport:||Subway: L, N, Q, R, W, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St–Union Sq|
|Price:||Average main course: $15. AmEx, Disc, MC, V|