Mon-Thu, noon-11:30pm; Fri, noon-midnight; Sat, 11:30am-midnight; Sun, 11:30am-11:30pm
N, R, W at Prince St.; 6 at Spring St.
With its tile floor, dim lighting, and large mirrors tilted over deep red banquettes, Jacques is like every other striving-to-be-sexy French bistro you’ve ever walked into. But thanks to a few Moroccan flourishesócolored chandeliers, carved woodwork over the baróit has a slightly more exotic feel. The menu, too, straddles French classics (escargots, steak tartare) and more ambitious North African fare, like a shrimp tajine and, in winter, African chorba soup, a veggie-beef concoction with a fragrant nutmeg broth. The traditional stuff is good, not great, but it gets style points: Crispy trout amandine is served over an unexpected jumble of diced sweet and white potatoes. But the pleasantly spicy merguez in the Moroccan version of steak-frites is a winner, and the crispy, salty fries would please any nationality. Jacques won’t transport you to Balthazar or Marrakesh, but the highly designed plates, at least, are Nolita-worthy. And so is the scene on the front patio, where lithe locals and the Euro and Middle Eastern smokers who love them gather to flirt and drink.