Neighborhood: West Village, Manhattan
Address: 42 Grove St.
In an era of sell-out chefs who think success means opening a mook mill in Vegas and slapping their mug on a jar of pasta sauce, Jody Williams is a holdout for the old school. She's got serious food-world cred—Mario Batali has called her one of his favorite chefs in America—but she prefers to keep her talents in the NYC, serving classic European fare in ridiculously tiny neighborhood joints. This newcomer is no different, and it's the ideal spot to seal the deal with the Francophile you've been courting—retro Gallic grub like coq au vin and Tarte Tatin is spot on, and the everything is beautifully presented in rustic crocks and jars that ramp up the cozy vibe.—CS