RestoReview: The Smith in Lincoln Square

Dear Friends and Eaters,

This holiday season brought me to a couple of restaurants that may easily become some of my favorite dinner spots in 2013. The first and most recently opened in The Smith in Lincoln Square. I am not an upper east sider and I don’t live downtown anymore so I had never been exposed to The Smith before. The Lincoln Square location is the third location for this American Brasserie so it is safe to imply that they have the system down to an art. The restaurant is located where once stood two lack luster local joints and I am happy to see that the facelift given to the premises uncovered a gorgeous space. The front room is cozy and a cheerful, with a bar and some “bistro-style” tables. The back room is airy and perfect for brunch, with booths and a large wall to wall window into a private courtyard.

My first meal at The Smith was brunch. All the dishes I saw passing looked beautiful and smelled great but I settled for a long time favorite, eggs benedict with salmon.  My mom had mushroom omelette.  Both dishes were very well cooked. The eggs benedict creamy and decadent, the salmon not overly salty and the omelette was very fluffy.  Both mom and I couldn’t stop eating the home fries, because they were addictive.

The second visit was for a late lunch/early dinner with my gastronomically adventurous husband so we tried more fun stuff. We started with a blue cheese fondue with fries. Hubby can only eat it out of the house because I refuse to cook it myself, mostly fearing the calories count.  Entree’ was a burger for him and a bibimbap for me.  Kurt thought that the Smith’s burger is better than that served at “the other burger place” across the square. I have to agree, The Smith’s burger was seasoned generously and cooked to a perfect medium as he had requested it.  The problem with “the other burger place” is the inconsistent seasoning, so they’d better shape up unless they want all the customers to go to The Smith instead. I took the waiter’s suggestion on the bibimbap (more on service later) and the dish was as colorful as it was flavorful! The rice dish is served in a hot plate and I absolutely enjoyed the bits of toasted crunchy rice along with the edamame and pickled carrots. We also ordered some shrimp and grits (sorry no photo because we scarfed it down the moment it arrived) which inspired me to start cooking this southern dish a little more often. Their jalapeno grits are so good they make me cry (of joy). Then we were presented with one of the best desserts Kurt and I have had in years, S’mores in a jar: layers of ganache cream and graham crunch in a gar with torched marshmallows on top.  Also this dessert was suggested by the waiter and I am so glad that Kurt (who notoriously is not a chocolate lover) agreed to order it. We fought for the last spoonful.  I actually would go back just for that dessert (and many other things of course!).

We have talked about the food which is well cooked, tasty and fun to eat, now let’s talk about the service.  The Smith has GREAT service.  All the waiters are knowledgeable, proactive, well trained and just plain nice.  Even if this restaurant is not necessarily a white glove environment, the service makes you feel welcome. This for me is a very important aspect: in too many restaurants in NYC you feel like you are doing the waiters and the management a favor to eat and pay the bill. Not at the Smith: both Kurt and I appreciated the down-to-earth atmosphere and the attentive service as much as we appreciated the food.

The Smith is a great addition to Lincoln Square and let’s hope other restaurants take notice!