The Smith: Huppie Heaven
What do you call yuppies that work tirelessly to be hipsters? In one word, huppies. Corner Table Restaurant’s The Smith is, for better or for worse, a straight-up huppie heaven.
In effort to buck my current trend of haute gastronomy eating (note: I’ve been taking the time to visit some of the more refined and chi-chi spots in Manhattan, exploring what made New York dining so fine.), I sought out some laidback comfort food in a casual lively environment. The Smith, on the cusp of the East Village, fulfills these aspirations, quite successfully.
Don’t get me wrong – The Smith has its noticeable flaws: throngs of yuppie New Yorkers, a no reservations policy for weekend brunch, and so much of a ‘scene’ that you feel like you’re in Sex & The City or, even worse, The City. Yet, despite the questionable too-cool vibe, it’s energy and pizzazz makes The Smith a fun and fiesty option for dinner and drinks or for Sunday brunch (and drinks…).
The feel is spruced-up diner with vaguely art-deco looks: black leather banquettes, black-and-white tiled floors, dark wood tables, and sleek modern light fixtures. A large black bar lines one side of the room, while bookshelves, chalkboards, and homey design touches fill the remaining wall space. Bright windows in the front flood the boisterous room with light during the day, while flickering candles and low lights set the mood at night. The vibe is fun, youthful, and charged with energy and vivacity. Don’t expect a quiet leisurely meal here – instead, pack up a group of friends for a boozy comfort-food-filled time.
The food is cozy, comfy, and casual, but don’t mistake that for sloppy. The Smith succeeds brilliantly at the current trend of delicious, hearty, and fresh comfort food with small inspired twists and refined technique. Imagine ricotta gnocchi with truffle cream at brunch, a roast pork sandwich with spicy cauliflower (mm mm good), alsatian pizza with bacon, onions and crema, and breakfast classics such as vanilla bean french toast with maple butter, potato waffle benedict with caramelized onions, and chicken sausage with eggs, spicy corn bread, and black pepper gravy. Is your mouth watering yet? The kitchen consistently churns out immensely flavorful food that fills your belly good and shows you that American food can be something worth writing home about.
My personal recommendations? Buck up with Bloody Mary’s for brunch and let it all go with Buttermilk Waffles with fresh strawberries, apple-smoked bacon, and a pot of white cheddar grits. And, on Sunday Nights, check out the Burger and a Beer special for $14 (now that football season is over, what else are you going to do?).
The Smith plays no games with American classics, dishing out the ultimate comfort food classics with precision and flair. It is a go-to spot for Village-ers, drawing a young and hip crowd looking for an equally young and hip spot to nosh. A consistent favorite, this sister restaurant to Soho’s Jane (not my #1, but beloved by many) is ideal for group gatherings, a raucous Sunday brunch, girls night out, or a casual meal between friends.