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“The Smith”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Good

on juices and mint ($9). The restaurant is a scene in some ways, but then again it’s not. It doesn’t feel like a flash in the pan. It feels like it’s been there forever.

The menu at The Smith, which is one of the first restaurants in recent memory to open without the words “Gastro-pub,” “locavore,” “seasonal,” “ingredient-driven,” or “Greenmarket” in the press release, is meant to please with easy, honest, stick to your ribs fare. The menu offers steaks (hanger, bar, strip), sandwiches (roast pork, roasted chicken salad), salads (Mediterranean, Nicoise), pastas (penne with meatballs), entrees (salmon with brussel sprouts and bacon, short ribs in red wine with shallots and baby potatoes), and sides including the must-have Coney Island Disco Fries topped with gravy and cheese ($5). There’s nothing here that’s an intellectual exercise. This is a place that’s really about the basics—good food served in portions larger than you’ll be able to conquer, but that you’ll happily finish off for lunch the next day.

Indeed, I’ve made lunch of three leftover dinner entrees at The Smith recently. The first was the cast-iron rice pot, a vegetable “Bibimbap” made with silky-but-sticky Japanese sushi rice, loaded up with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, edamame and topped with kimchi, a smudge of hot chili sauce, and a perfect sunny-side up egg ($15). I’d eat that rice dish every day. The hanger steak salad ($15) is also a winner—a tender grilled-to-order steak sliced on the bias over a heap of arugula tossed with cherry tomatoes, endive, and crumbled lumps of fresh goat cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette. It may sound very ‘80s—whenever I hear balsamic vinaigrette I think of shoulder pads—but it’s very good, too. I enjoyed half with Craig when we had a late night dinner after the theater, and the other half the next day for lunch after Simon’s killer Boot Camp class. The third leftover lunch was a sandwich made from Glenn’s house-made chicken and fennel sausage that’s served coiled up like a snake in waiting, resting on a street-vendor styled hash of potatoes, peppers and onions ($14). Getting two meals for one is quite nice.

I would’ve loved to have had the roasted tomato soup ($7) for lunch the next day too, but I finished it off in one sitting. It may ... [more, click below]

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