I ate at Commune (12 E 22nd St.) this past weekend, and while the food was delicious it was difficult to hear what my friend was saying. Commune may have the loudest noise level of any upscale restaurant I have been to in Manhattan (including Mercer Kitchen.)
The menu is American eclectic. I had the tuna tartare appetizer which was really good (better than most, even though this item is on every menu in town) and my girlfriend had crab cakes which were also good. I had a delcious steak au poivre and she had fried chicken (a special on Saturdays) with yummy mashed potatos. We had chocolate belgian waffles and "sticky toffee cake" for dessert - both were bad.
The service tried, but the waiters couldn't even hear what we ordered. They brought the wrong entree and so we had to wait while they cooked the right one (although they did comp us the fried chicken as a result). The food was great, the place is decorated nicely, but because of the nosie caused by hard surfaces and high ceilings, I wouldn't return any time soon. If you are willing to forgo conversation, then by all means try it, but if you expect to be able to talk to your dining companions without shouting, then stay home. (When we got there only 1/2 the tables were occupied and it was noisy, when we left, all tables were full and the noise was deafening. I am in my 20s and don't usually mind noise, but this was ridiculous!)