Sun-Thu, 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-midnight
6 at Spring St.; N, R at Prince St.
If at first you don't succeed, reinvent. That seems to be Jacques Ouari's philosophy. His fusiony, unfortunately named Mix It morphed into the prickly Porcupine before he decided to shuck experimentation and let his true self come out. This time, Ouari slightly tweaks an already established formula by giving the Nolita version of his successful, eponymous Upper East Side brasserie a North African touch. Colorful bazaar-style lanterns dot the ceiling of an otherwise familiar bistro setting—mirrors, dark wood blinds, wine-colored curtains—and the crowd of local boutique owners and stylish Euros seem to approve. The menu follows suit by offering not only the expected classics like steak frites and escargot, but more exotic dishes like a coconut curry dipping sauce and couscous with merguez, lamb, and chicken. The proven entities, like risotto enriched with slow cooked veal chunks and moules frites in a tangy white wine, shallot, and parsley broth, are the best bets, however—perhaps another sign that it's just best to be yourself? If so, for Jacques, the third time will indeed be the charm.Extra
The restaurant's weekend prix-fixe brunch, which includes beverage and main course, is a rare area bargain.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.