Two weeks ago Gothamist told you about Brazilian ingredients meeting French cooking techniques at Caviar and Banana Brasserio. Today, however, we want to tell you about a different kind of Brazil-France connection in New York: that of 100-year-old Brazilian choro music and modern French bistro fare.

01_05_bistrojules2.jpgFor the past three years, The Choro Ensemble has made the East Village's Bistro Jules its home base, developing a strong following and winning raves, to the point where they were invited to play with the New York Pops this past fall. We thought they sounded great at Carnegie Hall, but actually prefer them in the intimate setting of Jules. Jules' relaxed atmosphere lends itself to the revival of this precursor of samba and bossa nova. Choro combines European melodies and instrumentation with Afro-Brazilian rhythms, creating a sound that is at once remote yet familiar to U.S. ears. The "crying" of the clarinet (choro means "cry" in Portuguese) sings just as plaintively as any human voice might, able to convey a full range of emotion. As that instrument is rarely heard in today's pop music (or even jazz), it further transports us out of 21st-century New York and into a more mysterious, enchanting time and place.

But Bistro Jules' food, drink, and ambience can also take partial credit. While the French bistro concept has become a cliché in New York, Jules manages to offer decent prices for good food with the added advantage of live music seven nights a week (plus weekend brunch). There is no cover charge, whether you choose to sit at the bar and drink or take a table and eat.

The wide selection of French wines and European beers are reasonably priced; there's also a great sangria available. For those who come hungry, the menu offers expected French standards along with everything from American burgers to Austrian schnitzel and Italian veal scallopine.

01_05_bistrojules3.jpgWe've eaten at Jules on several occasions and have found the food to range from acceptable to very good (most frequently residing in the "good" range). Certainly, far too many live-music-plus-food venues try to get away with either mediocre food at high prices or outright bad food at cheaper prices.

Certainly compared to those sorts of establishments, Jules excels. With reasonable prices (appetizers, $5-$9; dinner entrees, $9-$22; desserts, $6) and the added value of the live music, you get a great deal.

Only one word of warning: Sundays can get crowded, and a reservation may be needed to guarantee a table. Also, we were once asked to relinquish our table (after paying the check) on a particularly busy night. Fortunately, this push to turn over tables seems to be the exception, not the rule, as we've spent many a lingering night at Jules, listening to both sets.

Recommended dishes: pate (appetizer), veal scallopine, rabbit stew, risotto (side dish), creme brulee, raspberry clafoutis.

Bistro Jules, 65 Saint Marks Place (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), phone: (212) 477-5560

The Choro Ensemble plays two sets each Sunday night, beginning at 8:30pm (and usually ending around 11pm).