There’s no mystery behind the name 26 Seats: it’s the capacity of a sweet little East Village restaurant. It’s the kind of quiet French bistro that we like to think the Parisians have on every street. New York ought to have more like it. In the Times, Eric Asimov liked it too, when he reviewed it for $25 and Under in April 2001.
A friend and I had a leisurely dinner there last week. The menu had few surprises, but it’s nice (for a change) to walk into a place where you’re not greeted by a hostess at a computer terminal, where the person seating you remembers your reservation without having to look it up in a book, and where an 8:00 table is yours for the evening.
It’s friendly on the pocketbook too, with appetizers $6–8, entrées $11–16.50, and desserts $6.50. Wines, I believe, were around $7 a glass for a generous pour, and the server happily accommodated us when, near the end of the evening, we asked to split a glass.
I ordered a duck confit (around $14), which was nothing special, but at that price one can hardly complain. Service was professional and friendly. The space is cozy, but perhaps that is part of the charm.
26 Seats (168 Avenue B between 10th & 11th Streets, East Village)