Smith’s opened its doors just a few weeks ago and is already behaving like a celebrity when it comes to making a reservation (two weeks in advance). I guess it figures, considering its parents are the masterminds behind Raoul’s and the Mermaid Inn. Zagat describes it as an American restaurant – a descriptive I have to somewhat disagree with. I've noticed a "patriotic" pattern in the restaurant business that bothers me a bit. Every time a restaurant cannot define its cuisine it categorizes itself as “American” or “New American”. Granted, American food does not rely solely on burgers and hot dogs and can definitely be gourmet. Still, just by looking at Smith's menu it’s more than obvious that the force major behind its kitchen is European. Perhaps a new category is in order: Euro-American. Here, however, is where I stop my ranting. Smith’s, the new Euro-American restaurant in the west village, was an exquisite delight across the board.
Zazi and I began our decadent meal by ordering a bottle of 2006 Abbot’s Table from Oregon that was passionately recommended by our waitress. Abbot’s Table is a blend of nine different red wine grapes which, supposedly, makes it compliment a wide range of food. It certainly saluted our meal.
For appetizers we started with a buttery Hudson Valley Foie Gras with black mission fig jam and black pepper. The pâté was served at room temperature, which made it super spreadable. With the sweet and tart fig jam it was pretty close to divine. The only shortcoming was the toast that could have been sliced a little thinner to let the pâté shine even brighter. We continued with a salad of charred baby squid with lemon confit, olives and pancetta. The combination of flavors was precise and fantastic. Nothing was too overpowering. It was, by all means, a team effort.
For our entrées, Zazi went for roasted lamb chops with a tomato and red pepper ragout and parmigiano puree (yes, a puree of cheese! Brilliant!) The lamb was cooked to perfection and the puree, oh the puree. How could that possibly disappoint? I went for the grilled lobster served with butternut squash puree and black trumpet mushrooms. It was absolutely delicious. Lobsters can be very tricky and get too chewy when not cooked right. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. Our waitress, god bless her soul, suggested that we order 2 side dishes with our entrées. We went for the seductive creamy polenta with a drizzle of black truffle and a cauliflower and Taleggio cheese gratin. Honestly, I’m starting to run out of good adjectives. Both were beyond excellent, especially the polenta. I think I had a dream about it last night. I woke up all sweaty and stuff...
For dessert we ordered the chocolate bread pudding. I feel like I should apologize for this boring review: where’s the ruthless critic I consider myself to be? Well, the bread pudding was great. Sorry, it just was.
Foodzi will definitely revisit (after selling some stuff on eBay).
Bottom line: 98 :)
90+ to feast like royalty
79 MacDougal St. (bet. Bleecker & Houston Sts.)