A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
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Like a frat jock with the soul of a food geek, Village Lantern disguises its highly competent kitchen beneath the butch façade of a scruffy bar and live-music spot. Owned by the family behind tonier Blvd. and Opal, Village Lantern also shares their executive chef. His hand reveals itself in fresh ingredients, simple preparations, and unfussy presentations apropos of the surroundings. Even humbler bar food like fried calamari arrives greaseless, while more substantial fare like pastas come expertly sauced and seasoned. Just a few widely spaced tables in back are dedicated to dining; the mixed crowd of NYU kids and gray-haired locals seems better acquainted with the bar than the kitchen. But if you can tolerate stentorian game-day broadcasts from giant flat-screen TVs—or high-decibel tunes at night—this is a worthwhile stop on a blah strip of Bleecker Street.Recommended Dishes
Enzo salad, $9