Happy 21st Dan! Even though you weren’t with us in person, we still celebrated (and ate your birthday cake/sundae without you). I hope you got our 2 voicemails of us singing happy birthday in the background. I even blew out your candle and Slo sucked on your happy bday lollipop that came with the sundae. I wonder if the next table over thought we were obnoxious…
For some reason, I thought The Smith was a diner. When it first opened back in November, I’d walk past it everyday on my way to campus. It has this rustic exterior, with black painted over a what seem like wooden boards and a white logo plastered on top. Since it’s inception, it’s been getting alot of buzz, and of course, it helps to be the sister restaurant of Jane nearby. Sabrina described it as a “wanna-be hip West Village restaurant relocated to the East Village.” And so while prices are a bit above what you’d expect from neighboring restaurants on St. Marks, The Smith is definitely worth checking out.
Tap & Seltzer (free), and Allagash White ($6) (all the way from Maine!)
Our group of ten turned into six met at around 6pm and the hostesses were very accommodating on the seating. I was originally going to make reservations, but they require a credit card number on Opentable.com Up until around 6:20pm on Saturday nights, it’s definitely possible to seat large groups of eight or under without a reso.. Upon seating, they immediately brought us two sets of two bottles (complimentary), one clear and one green- tap and seltzer. A nice gesture, if you ask me.
The menu’s a bit short, but covers everything from burgers to pasta to even bibimbap?! Say what? All of us stayed away from the bibimbap since we were pretty sure that no one could do it better than the Koreans restaurants. And so while everyone else was still deciding what they wanted, Slo and I hopped onto the back of the menu to look at the draft selection because what’s a burger or a sandwich without beer? I ended up choosing the Allagash, which upon further research, is a place in Maine, but nevertheless, provides for a very light Bluemoon-esque sort of taste.
Burger Deluxe: special sauce, cheddar, bacon, the works ($15)
You might say to yourself. “Dang, $15 is alot for a burger!” BUT HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BURGER?
Half the table- Slo, Suzie, & Jlee all ordered burgers and all unanimously agreed that it was the greasiest burger ever, but still banging delicious. I had a bite from Suzie’s and it was swarming with juice from the meat. It was stacked high, probably because the burger itself was so thick. Everyone got it topped with the works (lettuce, onions, and tomato)- the way it should be done. They all came with a heaping pile of fries too, which were the thin shoelace cut ones, salted and fried to the perfect degree of tastiness and crispiness. You can ask for their house chimichurri, which goes great on both the burger and sandwiches alike.
From top to bottom: Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich with kimchee aioli ($14), shaved cauliflower & watercress, Wild Mushroom Fettuccine with arugula, roasted garlic, & shaved parmesan ($15), and Roasted Chicken Salad with arugula, apples, walnuts, brie, & grilled onions ($17)
But the rest of us ventured out into sandwiches, salads, and pasta. I have to say- the kimchee aioli really caught my attention and so I was the one who got the Pork Sandwich. It’s hard to describe how it tasted because it was simply a jumble of different flavors that somehow came well together. The kimchee aioli isn’t overpowering at all. In fact, I requested the chimichurri when Slo did and even would have preferred to have a sweeter sauce, maybe barbeque, on the sandwich. I really appreciated the quality of the bread; it was one of those robust sourdough loafs where you could still see the dusting remains of the flour on the top bun. The pork sandwich was overall satisfying and I had to wrap half of it to take home (which I am finishing right now as I’m blogging away).
Vineetha didn’t say much about her pasta, which I gather was an “ehh” to a “not bad?” Jungyon’s salad looked absolutely delicious with the well oiled argula and chunks of brie. There must have been like half of wheel of brie in there! I think I might replicate that salad to bring to work…
REVISE: Vineetha personally gchatted me to tell me that… “The mushrooms were amazing… I like portobello stuff and the arugula was good too.” So scratch the previous paragraph. It was a really good dish!
Because that Burger Deluxe just looked soo good in person, I thought maybe you’d want a second look. If I ever go back to the Smith, it’d be for that burger…
I feel like I need to explain about the ketchup with the peppers. When the burger arrived, the first thing Slo did was grab the ketchup, pour out a hefty amount, and then grab the pepper shaker. She then proceeded to literally dump massive amounts of pepper onto the ketchup while the rest of the table looked at her like she was nuts. But then, we all tried it, and well… I started doing it too.
By the time dessert came around, I wasn’t quite myself to say the least. A pint of the lightest beer will get me a wee bit too happy but also loaded with great ideas. As I was reading the description of the Birthday Cake Sundae, I thought to myself, “OH BOY! IT COMES WITH A CANDLE! IS IT ANYONE’S BIRTHDAY?” And then the table remembered that it was Dan’s birthday, who was originally meant to come, but had made prior birthday dinner plans prior to my dinner plans. So, we ordered it, sang happy birthday to him (first just to ourselves, second to his voicemail, and a third just for kicks), blew out the candle (twice) and devoured the cake. I love birthdays!
A special thanks to Jungyon Park for taking some of these pictures! Namely the top and bottom right of this set (and the salad picture way above!)
And so that was it. It was probably one of our longer dinners, but a ton of fun with a ton of great food. The server was great (and in fact, struck up some conversation with Slo when she found out that they were both from the same area in Pasadena, CA). We arrived with the sun still bright and left to the bright (bokeh’d) lights of the city. Excuse my expression in the last photo. My expression wasn’t toward The Smith, but rather to that thing standing to my left.
Photo du jour: Below is one of my first attempts at using textures. The original background was a plain white wall, but I layered this texture filled with bokeh and changed the colors.