I found myself and my wife in the car and hungry at around 7PM last Saturday, and not having reservations anywhere decided to take a chance that there might might be space at teh counter at 71 Clinton. Wife went in to ask, and lo and behold, there were several tables for 2 open.
While there are some additions and subtractions from the Willie Dufresne menu, there are enough things to let you know you are in the same place. For me, the menu wasn't too exciting before, and I can't put my finger on it, but even less exciting now. However, I thought the food was great before, and it still is. We ended up just ordering all the appetizers except one, and no main course ( this did seem to confuse our server for some odd reason ). The dishes we had eaten before were pretty much unchanged by Dufresne's absence, and the "new one's" you would really know weren't from Willie.
Overall, the same experince as the previous times we've eaten there. I actually think this is one of NY's great "bargains", in that the quality of the meal is pretty much the same as at an awful lot of other places where it is twice the price.
Decor hasn't changed at all. Service may have slipped oh so slightly, but it might just be the night we went, etc.
On a personal note, I found myself aware for the first time in a long time that I was in a restaurant where I didn't feel *anyone* from the neighborhood was eating in, and it made me slightly uncomfortable. Does this mean I'm getting old ?