With white tile, a black-and-white motif, and an everyman name, The Smith has transformed what had formerly been a Pizzeria Uno into a bustling restaurant about ten times more hip. I like the casual, friendly servers, and how diners are offered bottles of both still and sparkling water at no charge. I like the open, unisex bathroom and the photo booth and vintage barber's chair that act as sentry near its entrance. I keep eyeing the massive downstairs room for some kind of special event, but none have presented themselves yet.
At dinner with TC last month, really good butter arrived with a tough, paper-wrapped baguette, bread that was sadly only okay. My order of moules frites featured tasty if stubby fries and passable mussels. They weren't as plump as they could have been and were just slightly tough, but their flavor was good and the sauce they swam in, divine. I dunked unshelled mussels, fries, and eventually whatever was left of the baguette into the creamy broth sitting at the bottom of the pot, trying to sop up every bit of its silky richness. I'd had the ricotta gnocci in truffle cream the last time I'd come, and had found its sauce similarly addictive.
To cut things a bit I also asked for their baby arugula salad, a lemony, perfectly dressed creation tossed with thin shavings of fennel and parmesan. TC seemed happy with her meal too, enough to return just a few weeks later with our friend GQ in tow. With its wallet-friendly prices and lively, comfortable atmosphere, The Smith would probably be a regular spot for me…if only I was going to still be living in NYC.