After being unable to get a table at Risotteria, I went across the street to a new place that opened up across Bleeker St.(near Cornelia St.) a month or so ago, Noi Cafe. From the outside it looks like a tacky take-out place, but oy, inside was much different. Lots of seating in the back, a full "Italian bistro" menu. That means some pasta, salads, 10 different panini. We had the sandwiches, which were great. The panini seemed to be made with bread like a brioche, so they were light and crumbly not dense. (Yes, I know some people around here are sick of panini, but after be scarce for so many years, I'm happy these places are popping up.)
The service was pretty spotty given the we were the only ones in the place, and English is very much a second language for these folks. But it was very, very good. Pastas and salads were $9-$12, panini $6.50-$10 (that's for "speck", some sort of cured ham.)
All the tables are inlaid with big, bright Italian tiles and the whole place was bright and fun.
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