Let me start off by saying this restaurant is good for date night, celebratory events, or if you’re down to spend some extra cash than you’re used to spending. While it is a bar and restaurant, and you can very well get snacks instead of meals, I can always find some place cheaper. This place, however, is special to my heart – so every penny is worth every dollar I spend here.
I’ve been to The Smith in the East Village (NYC) three times in total and can say it is by far my favorite date night place ever. Each time I try to get different things on the menu, so I can accurately judge, but to be quite honest I fell in love on the first try.
The first time I went, I tried the hot chips with melted blue cheese fondue as an appetizer. Normally, I’m not a fan of blue cheese unless it’s on a hot wing, but my lord the taste it gave on these homemade chips were literally mouthwatering. The top of course has the most cheese, so I moved around the chips to let the cheesey goodness slide around. They’re called hot chips because the cheese and chips are literally warm when you get them, providing maximum enjoyment and pleasure. I drank the regular and sparkling water and kept it casual the first time around (I wasn’t paying for the bill and am a considerate human).
My entree was the Tagliatelle, which is black pasta, sautéed shrimp, scallion, and crumbled garlic bread. A lot of reviews say it is too salty… I have to disagree, it was perfect for me (maybe I’m just a salty gal). Black pasta in itself is really cool and adds a certain flair to any dish, but the shrimp and garlic bread crumbles were just the texture I was looking for to compliment the noodle. Scallions are my second favorite garnish, but they come really close to cilantro, and add the kick to the dish (not spicy at all, but if you’ve ever tasted a scallion/any raw onion on its own you’ll understand).
I’m more of an appetizer gal and rarely do dessert, so sorry I can’t comment on any of their sweets; although, I’m sure they’re fab. The second time around I kept the chips as an appetizer, but also got the fried calamari, which is my absolute weakness. The breading is seasoned to perfection and it isn’t overly fried, more of a light batter. It’s golden, peppered to the T, and served with the perfect texture of marinara sauce (not too runny, but also not too chunky). It’s definitely do-able to share with someone else, but I’m super greedy and can easily eat the entire thing by myself with room left for my entree.
I tried out the non-alcoholic drink section and ordered the agave lemonade. It was actually really good, but nothing to go crazy over… Not sour, but not artificially-flavored sweet. The only downfall is that there is more ice thank drink (boo).
Keeping my shrimp theme, I tried the Grilled Shrimp entree that came with jalapeño grits, crispy chorizo salad, lobster brandy sauce. I was extremely hungry and had asked the waiter beforehand if this would fill me up because the Yelp photos led me to believe otherwise. He ensured me that the appetizers and free bread (comes with every meal) would be a great start and the entree wouldn’t overfill me. He was 100% right, and I couldn’t have been more obsessed with my pick. The grits we’re straggling the lines of thick and runny, which is exactly what I like; can’t stand a runny grit or a thick ball of it. Although it says jalapeño, it wasn’t really spicy and my tongue is super sensitive to that stuff. The crispy chorizo salad was a perfect blend, even if I thought it was an odd combo. It was nice to combine all of the flavors together to basically make one cohesive taste.
My last time at The Smith, September 28th, was a very special night that required a bottle of wine (pinot gris Solena ‘13, Willamette Valley, Oregon to be exact). Economically, it made the most sense to get a $43 bottle of wine (roughly 5-6 glasses) than to buy four $9-11 glasses. It was a “dry” wine, but wasn’t the type to choke you, if you’re not used to that. It was perfect for the steak entree I got accompanied by the whipped garlic potatoes ($3 extra, since it originally comes with french fries).
I’m trying this new thing, where I eat my steak NOT “well done”, so I got a medium-well cook instead. I really don’t care what people say about juices, flavors, texture, taste, etc. I’m never going to be a medium girl. I’m never going to enjoy seeing blood ooze out of my slab of steak into the rest of my sides. It’s just not going to happen – so the medium well was good enough for me, and I had the cutest gravy boat with my peppercorn sauce in it. I was really happy the sauce came in a boat and not on top of the steak, although I ended up pouring the sauce all over it and my potatoes.
Each time, the bill has easily run my date and I about $100, so be sure to go into this place knowing your budget and what you want. Also, remember each location has slight alterations to the menu, so some of the things I got in the East Village might not be available, say, near Lincoln Square. Overall, this restaurant/bar gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and my date.