I was previously unfamiliar with Smith’s, a nice little unpretentious restaurant tucked in the Southern part of the West Village. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find the windows of the restaurant open towards the street, revealing a cozy interior that extends backwards into a narrow space. There is a quaint little bar area at the end nestled to the back right.
I had read a great deal about the bar beforehand, but was disappointed to find thatI was not as impressed by the bar as much as I had anticipated. It came off as an afterthought, appearing disconnected from the rest of the restaurant (although, depending on your reason for going, this might not be a bad thing). The ambiance of the restaurant was perfect – relaxed and inviting, but yet sophisticated.
Their appetizers were in two groups – standard and seasonal. The standards ranged from endive and Asian pears to Hawaiian yellowtail and baby squid. The pairings throughout the menu were very unique: the Hawaiian yellowtail, for example, is complimented by yellow watermelon, cucumbers, and pickled jalapeno. That’s a first! The charred squid was a refreshing change to the typical fried preparation, and the pancetta accompaniment really made the dish.
For the summer starters, the current menu included dishes such as sauteed brussels sprouts, spring asparagus, or, my choice, the homemade corzetti. I learned corzetti is thin round pasta, and they served it filled with a thin later of ricotta cheese accompanied by peas, fava beans, and morels.
Their entrees were seafood heavy (dorade, scallops, bass, and mahi mahi). Smith’s is a restaurant known for adding “froth” to their plates, and my mahi mahi was no exception to the rule. The fish was quite good, but the squash and coconut-lime broth were an unusual pairing, and I found myself wish ing the flavor was a little stronger. However, the grilled ribeye steak with its spinach puree, bone marrow gravy, and potato dumplings was an excellent selection: the meat was just perfect.
The dessert menu featured many seasonal offerings as well, such as a chilled summer berry soup or the cumin pound cake with a passion fruit sauce. I can personally say the chocolate tart brulee with banana ice cream was excellent, with the chocolate not being neither too bitter nor too sweet. My favorite, though, was the cheesecake ice cream Napoleon – with strawberries, hazelnut brittle, and a graham-caramel cookie. It was every bit as good as it photographed.
Appetizers $7-$12; Main Courses $22-$28
79 Macdougal St, between W. Houston/Bleeker – 212.260.0100