284 West 12th St. (at 4th St.)
Cozy is the new black this fall as far as restaurants are concerned. While last spring was marked by an invasion of Asian mega-restaurants the size of airplane hangars, New Yorkers fled in droves to The Little Owl, a refreshingly intimate nook, which snuck onto the West Village scene amidst the seige. While restaurants of this magnitude don’t usually merit a New York Times review, Frank Bruni stamped two stars of approval on The Little Owl “that could”, paving the way for an influx of intimate cafes trying their luck at the corner bistro game. Snagging an attractive West 4th street corner location, the team behind Odeon (Lynn Wagenknecht, Judi Wong & Steven Abramowitz), have partnered up once again to open a charming French-American cafe. As if
it’s been around forever, Cafe Cluny has a decidedly worn-in feel. Divided into two cream-colored dining rooms, the space is warmly accented with beige wood floors, tin ceilings and farm tables. Eccentric bird diaramas and sketches of restaurateurs line the walls, giving it a quirky personality that sets it apart from its West Village neighbors.
Abuzz with Odeon loyalists and a
chic downtown crowd, the 70-seat space was already packed and reservations were scarce. I was assigned to a table in the rear dining room, quieter than the front room with a bustling entrance bar.