Dinner last night at Village, 62 West 9 St (at 6th Ave), tel: 505-3355, was surprisingly tasty. (Bondinis was the former restaurant on this site, and the space has been totally renovated.) The mixed antipasto was good, but outshone by a special app: merguez sausage that was really delicious. My main course, braised and grilled lamb shank with ratatouille (peppers mainly), and yogurt and mint was terrific. The meat was juicy, lamby and a real treat on a cold evening. Other mains tried were the daurade, steak with bearnaise sauce (with good fries) and a special trout. The first two were very good, and although the person who had the trout really liked it, I thought it was a little bland--then again its a delicate fish. There was a definite middle-eastern/north African influence in a couple of the dishes that I really liked. It was an interesting addition to the regular bistro fare. We shared a tapioca dessert with chocolate pastry, and this was good and creamy. The restaurant seems to emphasize good ingredientsfor example, the bread is unmistakenly from Sullivan Street bakery. The service was efficient.
The front of the restaurant, with bar and a few tables, though fine for a pre-dinner drink, was very noisy, and I would not recommend eating here unless you dont want to talk to your companions. The main room, farther back, is much more civilized. Airy, huge ceiling and a bistro feel.
Village has a web site that Ive just looked up.