Café Plan B
With its sleek dark brown and red space—an enclosed patio that’s a dead ringer for Parisian sidewalk cafes—it’s hard to tell that this midtown eatery used to be a tiny hot dog joint crammed with memorabilia. But in a reversal of the usual pattern, a hit suburban establishment, Arden Park’s Plan B restaurant, has expanded to the grid, bringing its easy-to-like French bistro fare and low-key, friendly vibe to the central city. Like its parent, Café Plan B—which opened in March—features an array of moules frites (mussels with French fries) and well-prepared starter salads, plus simply cooked mains like grilled salmon, roasted half chicken or gnocchi with wild mushroom sauce. The sautéed mussels are one of the stars; they can come in any number of ways, from classic marinière (with garlicky white wine sauce) to nantaise (with shallots and crème fraîche) to a Thai-inflected coconut broth. Despite the name, this cafe is bringing its A game—and a welcome new flavor to midtown dining.