I plan on coming from Philly to see the Gauguin exhibition (one of my favorite artists) at the Metropolitan with my wife either later this summer or sometime in the Fall. Of course, I plan on having a great dinner as well before we leave.
What I need are suggestions for places to eat that will help me experience the essence of what NYC is all about. I would like something small, not glitzy, european feeling, maybe outdoor seating (I love sidewalk cafes), and which serves high quality food. An ethnic (French, Italian, Mediterrean) cafe or bistro with great food would probably fit the bill very well. Perhaps a great little French bistro would be appropriate after seeing Gauguin.
It does not have to be near the art museum and in fact I was thinking that I've never seen neighborhoods like Greenich Village or SoHo, etc. I trust NYC chowhounds like I trust my hometown 'hounds, so any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!