Okay, so I've gone to balthazar since back when it was actually cool. what happened to this place?! i went there for dinner tonight after not having been there in forever just because. while the food was still solid the scene was horrendous. all the tables there are right on top of eachother, crammed up next to me on one side were two people who actually joined hands and prayed when their meal arrived and on the other were some yokels who ordered escargot just to look at them and go "ewwwwwwwwww". (i later saw when they were taking their money out to pay that they were from kansas - go figure). i felt like i was in times sq. while the food was still fine, the scene was what i would expect if i went to that "heartland brewery" place i've seen popping up in touristy places. i will never go back here again.
on another note, anyone got any reccomendations for where i can go for the same food without the tourist zoo? is odeon in tribeca pretty much the same (never been there before) i have my collection of cheaper neighborhood bistros (i.e. 30 bucks or so for dinner), but don't know anything that's like one step up.