It's come to my attention that The Smith has a role in the documentary, The Missing Ingredient, coming soon to the IFC Film Center. Click here for details. • 
THE SMITH • 55 Third Avenue • New York, NY 10003 • (212) 420-9800 •

"It's where the cool people brunch" someone once told me about The Smith. Well, I explained to her, I don't blog about brunch. That's for the restaurant blogs written by the high heel set. I do dinner, drinks, the occasional sandwich. "It's too far away." You live in Manhattan, I said. You even have a car. "I don't wanna go. Let's get dinner in Meatpacking." I hate Meatpacking. It's filled with transient vermin. "How about Chelsea?" In the end, we went somewhere near Madison Square Park and I wound up going to The Smith with Bro and his girlfriend, Nunu.

Bro was in a foul mood. It seems that the friends he was planning to see before meeting me pulled a few too many schedule changes at the last minute and, good friend that he is, held in his rage rather than throwing up his hands with a great big "to hell with this!". Luckily, one of the things that The Smith does well is cocktails and once he'd sucked one down, calmness ensued.

The Smith is one of the more popular of the generation of NYC restaurants that evolved out of the speakeasy scene. Lots of cocktails and lots of wood contrast with the industrial lamps and white tile walls. It's like eating on a renovated subway platform from the 1940s. The place, at 7 on a weekend, was crowded, but not such that I wasn't able to get a reservation or find a spot at the bar to wait for Bro and Nunu. It's a little loud and the food is standard American comfort food, by and large. Burgers, pot pie, mac and cheese - standard gastropub; no groundbreaking menus here - so maybe it shouldn't be a shock that there were a fair number of kids. I guess that if mom and dad want a drink, and the kids want a burger, and nobody wants boring, The Smith is a pretty good choice.

Nunu and I split a quick starter, sharing a half dozen Oysters. The selection varies by what's available and they basically had three to choose from. Small, medium, and large. That's literally the extent of my oyster knowledge. I should take a tasting class. We went with for the Goldilocks option and neither complained. I also ordered an appetizer. A nice healthy Kale and Quinoa salad, topped with dried cherry, ricotta, and almonds. In a few months, scientists will discover that kale and quinoa is somehow deadly, but for the moment, I basked in my seemingly healthy decision. It was a good salad. Hipsters, for as much as people love to denigrate them, hit this one on the head. 

Nunu ordered the Seared Tuna, served over sunchokes, mushroom, and spinach. I didn't end up trying it, but she said it was very very good and I'll take her word for it. Bro ordered the Tagliatelle, made with black pasta, shrimp, and scallion. This entree I did get to try and it was delicious. So filled with flavor. So smooth. I've been a big one for shrimp and pasta, but this really was incredibly good. Bro was the winner this night. He was also the loser, having ordered a side of Sicilian Cauliflower, which was all but inedible. I don't know who decided that drowning cauliflower in vinegar was a good idea, but he needs a stern talking to. My entree was the Chicken Pot Pie, a favorite dating back to colonial days when road weary travelers would come arrive at the inn in need of a warm meal, a pint of stout, and sturdy chair upon which to sit. This one came with a cheesy crust. Cheddar, specifically. I don't know that making the crust with cheese did anything other than differentiate it slightly from your average Joe pot pie, but it was indeed a fine pot pie with lots of thick vegetables, big hunks of chicken, but eat it slowly. It's boiling hot inside that shell. I learned that the hard way. Or maybe it was the very easy way.

We couldn't really get interested in the dessert list, which was exactly what you'd expect it to be. Ice creams, chocolate cake, some sort of apple pie/crumble/strudel... So we decided to get that someplace else (although in the end we actually just walked into a supermarket to get coffee beans for the morning and completely forgot about dessert). 

The Smith was fun. It wasn't too crowded. Entrees average $25 so while it's not cheap, it's not too badly priced. The service was very good. The was no age group that it seemed to cater to specifically. The food and drinks were good. If I was meeting someone who was a picky, not-very-adventurous eater who wanted to go someplace that was hip without being pretentious, or if you're just in the mood for comfort food, The Smith would be a good, safe choice.

Two appetizers, three entrees, a side, and a couple rounds of drinks came to about $180 before tax and tip. So $60 per person on average. There are two other locations. One is in Midtown East, and the other is near Lincoln Center.

The Smith Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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