This neighborhood eatery may resemble an airy French bistro (think mirrored walls and personal ice buckets), but its menu, featuring classic comfort food in the form of braised lamb shank or Cascade Natural New York strip steak (with blue cheese butter or a red wine demi-glace) and hand-cut fries, suggests more of a continental hybrid. With most entrées under $20, Café Nell offers casual dining without sacrificing refined details like cloth napkins and wine by the glass served in personal carafes. Unlike at many of its more upscale French counterparts, nothing on the menu is intimidating. (Beet salad, anyone?) But located just east of the bustling NW 21st and 23rd Avenues, the café can seem like an exotic alternative to the district’s plethora of ugly-American eateries.