Khe-Yo — 65.6 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

What a lovely place!  Khe-Yo offers “Laotian-inspired Southeast Asian cuisine” in the heart of Tribeca.  It wasn’t very crowded when we arrived for a Tuesday lunch, and was mostly empty by the time we left.  So while the reading suggests that it was absolutely serene, please keep in mind that  Khe-Yo will be louder when full.

That said, Khe-Yo has a balance of hard and soft surfaces.  The wood floors are unfinished and the brick walls are not sealed, both of which could possibly absorb some sound, something that isn’t likely with more highly finished surfaces.  Fabric wall hangings are placed around the main dining area, and they probably helped to abate sound–they surely didn’t reflect it.  Upholstered banquettes circled the room, adding yet another relatively soft surface.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There was music was playing in the background during our visit.  It was at a perfect volume–loud enough to recognize what was playing but not so loud as to force people to scream over it–and the choice of music was neither jarring nor inappropriate.

We enjoyed our meal, and our Vietnamese coffees–one hot, one iced–were first rate.  Khe-yo’s space is attractive and comfortable, and we found it very relaxing.

Given the vibe of the place and the materials used in its design, we think that Khe-Yo should be tolerable even when fairly full.   You will be hard pressed to find a more relaxed, comfortable spot in Tribeca.   We were very happy with our visit and intend to return to confirm that Khe-Yo is  comfortable during dinner or brunch service.

HOURS

Monday through Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Thursday and Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Saturday: 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (betw. West B’way and Hudson Street), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

Khe-Yo

 

Brandy Library — 78.3 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Brandy Library was much more pleasant than the 78.3 decibel reading would suggest.  We think the meter may have picked up chatter between the bartender and a nearby guest, which artificially elevated the reading, because we found the space to be really pleasant and did not feel that we were straining ourselves to have a conversation.  The bar top was made of copper, so perhaps that effected how sound was reflected.  In any event, sometimes a reading is higher than a space feels–this was one of those times.

We have been advised that Brandy Library doesn’t get louder than it was during our visit, which was fairly crowded.  But be advised, reservations are a must if you wish to visit Thursday through Saturday.

Brandy Library’s selection of brandies, whiskeys, and other liquors is extensive, and there is a smaller beer and wine menu.  It also has a food menu offering sandwiches, entrees, and small plates.  The bartenders are very knowledgeable, so if you want some guidance when you order, you are in luck.  In fact, Brandy Library offers a roster of classes to guide you through the world of whiskeys, scotches, and other spirits.

Brandy Library is where grown ups go to drink.  It is, in a word, civilized.  Well worth a visit.

HOURS

Sunday through Wednesday: 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Thursday: 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Friday and Saturday: 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

LOCATION

Street (betw. Hudson and Varick Streets), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

Brandy Library

The Greek — 75 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Our visit to the The Greek started off a little louder that we would have liked but the space got quieter as the early lunch time customers began to leave.   It was fairly busy when we arrived, and for good reason.  Service was attentive–the staff could not be nicer–and the food was good.  There was background music playing through out our visit,  but it was actually in the background and it was appropriate (traditional Greek ballads).

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The space at The Greek shines.  It is very comfortable there, and feels a bit like a private club in the back dining area where we sat.  Wood paneling and a padded banquette help to muffle noise, as did the use of textiles to cover doorways.   It is an attractive, comfortable space, much more comfortable than the decibel reading may suggest.  Well worth a visit.

HOURS

Sunday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

LOCATION

458 Greenwich Street (betw. Watts and Desbrosses Streets), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

The Greek

Delimarie — 70.2 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Delimarie is a low-cost option in that yet unnamed area where Tribeca meets City Hall and various state and federal government buildings.  It follows the standard lunch buffet model: grab a container, pick and choose among the hot and cold options, and pay by the pound.  But Delimarie is so much better than your average deli buffet place.

Deli buffets usually offer the same choices no matter where you go, and everything looks like it was made in the same offsite industrial kitchen.  Not so at Delimarie.  The entrees and vegetables looked fresher and were tastier; the salmon was moist and tasted of salmon, not some packaged sauce.  Like most delis, Delimarie also offers sandwiches to order, and like their buffet options, the sandwich options were more interesting than what you typically find on offer. More importantly, the long lines of customers waiting to order suggests that they are much better than the typical deli sandwich too.

As if that weren’t enough, Delimarie offers something that no other deli has: beignets.  And these are real beignets, made to order, that are almost as good as those you get in New Orleans (we believe there is a connection to that city).  We didn’t try them during our lunch time visit, but we had heard that they are excellent.  We did try the beignets at Delimarie’s West Village sister restaurant, Cafe Marie (a future review), and they did not disappoint.

Finally, Delimarie offers another option that most delis do not–a relatively quiet eating area that seats at least 25 (look for the stairs in the back of the space).  There was background music playing during our visit but the volume was low, and although every seat was taken, the chatter was more than manageable.  It wasn’t the prettiest space, but it served it’s purpose and it was clean.

If you are in the Tribeca/City Hall area and want an inexpensive, quick, and quiet nosh, head on over to Delimarie.  Just remember to save some room for the beignets!

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (but buffet closes at 4:00 p.m., sandwiches at 5:00 p.m.)

Closed Sundays

LOCATION

Street (betw. Broadway and Church Street), New York, NY 10007

WEBSITE

No website

Terrior Tribeca — 85.6 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We wanted to love Terrior Tribeca but we love our hearing more.  Terrior is located on quiet cobblestone street in Tribeca.  We liked the feel of the space, the selection of wines, beers, and ciders is extensive, and the cheese board was lovely (though small for the price).  What’s not to love?  The noise.   We visited on a Monday night–not Friday or Saturday–and yes there were a fair number of people in the space, but Terrior Tribeca was surprisingly and disappointingly loud.   The usual suspects were present, of course: louder than necessary background music, hard surfaces, et cetera.   We had assumed that a wine bar might be a bit more subdued or relaxing than an ordinary bar.  We were wrong.

Terrior Tribeca is a great place for a glass of wine and a nosh, but only if you are prepared to wear a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.  If not, avoid.

HOURS

4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. every day except Sunday (closes at 11:00 p.m.)

LOCATION

WEBSITE

Terrior Tribeca

Kaffe 1668 — 76.8 decibels

The first floor space of this popular Tribeca coffee house was pretty manageable when we arrived, but we ducked below expecting a quieter space since the lower level was a magnet for the laptop crowd (who are, bless them, quiet).  We were wrong, however, as the reading during our visit was 76.8 decibels, mainly due to two men who sat down and chatted about business over their coffees.  When they entered, the decibel level immediately increased, but there also was the constant rumble of machinery that could not be ignored.

That said, the two men were distracting simply because they stood out–no one else was speaking.  There was one long table and everyone else in the space was working on a laptop.  We suspect that the space is generally very quiet except for the rumbling, which sounded like a large industrial washing machine.  The spacious and clean bathroom is also on this level.  It is marred, sadly, by the presence of our nemesis, an Xlerator hand dryer.  Why must they be so loud?

Not surprisingly the first floor space was completely filled and noticeably louder when we left–as noted, Kaffe 1668 is a neighborhood favorite and it is often busy.  And when it’s busy, the main level may or may not be tolerable.  If it’s too loud on the main floor, check out the lower level to see if it is manageable.  Kaffe 1668 offers an extensive range of coffees and teas, as well as breakfast and lunch items (oatmeal, yogurt, bagels, sandwiches, wraps, and salads).

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

LOCATION

275 Greenwich Street (betw. Murray and Warren Streets), New York, NY 10007

WEBSITE

Kaffe 1668