Jersey City Grove Street
I love the evening atmosphere around the Grove Street area of Jersey City. Catch it at the right time and you have busy restaurants with outdoor seating, live music (Groove on the Grove, Wednesdays 6-9pm) and great local markets (Grove Street Farmers Market, Mondays and Thursdays, 4-8pm).
We still find the US dining experience to feel a bit rushed (but plentiful) after France, but there's definitely a relaxed and friendly vibe, especially compared to most of Manhattan. Food is good, drinks expensive, and wear whatever the heck you feel like.