A warm, airy ambiance and consistently good food makes Jane an easy neighborhood staple for the younger crowds.
Jane is one of those cozy but classy little spaces just above Soho and just next to the Village that succeeds based on the merits of its widely appealing food and atmosphere, ensuring a young, vibrant, neighborly reputation. While it's not necessarily an all-star in the making, it can still be a pleasurable destination for an evening that just requires a few simple ingredients for a good time.
Recently, after arriving for a reservation at 8:45PM, the hostess shared in a too upbeat mood and without a trace of apology "that it's looking closer to 9:15!" as if this was what my party had wanted to hear all along. The risk here, unfortunately, is that a backlog of reservations tends to quickly cramp the front of house in a cozy restaurant that crowds on the weekends. In this vein, service is often aloof and confused, making the mistake of only appearing happy and accommodating when the customer is polite and full of smiles first. Overall, however, the staff is plasant enough to overcome these occasional missteps in service, and a surprisingly good menu makes Jane a lovely, moderately priced destination for dinner before a night out.
The Jane Burger is a favorite for a more casual night, with cheddar, double smoked bacon, sauteed onions, pickled tomato, and a special sauce, while the Roasted Chicken Salad is a well-portioned option better suited to a date. With perfeclty cooked, tender cubes of chicken above a bed of endive, loads of baby spinach, sundried tomato, small bits of bacon, and crumbled blue cheese, the salad is a satisfying success, with the lack of flavor and seasoning in the creamy dressing standing out as the only flaw.
Perhaps one of the best dishes on the menu is actually among the Starters. The Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi is a dense, lightly textured bowl of goodness in a thick white truffle crema that you just want to spoon up, and if the small portion just doesn't look big enough (it isn't), the restaurant will gladly serve a larger dinner portion upon request for only $6 more.
Somehow, despite the size of the space and lack of interest in the decor, the noise level at Jane is still perfectly conducive to intimate conversations, making it an ideal, low-key first date spot for many, unlike its roudy younger brother, The Smith. As such, a young, Soho-oriented crowd that just recently purchased some furs can swiftly overwhelm the space, making reservations helpful, although not necessary more than a day before. Ultimately, the ease of dining here just makes Jane a favorite local destination when grander plans aren't needed.