The Smith

The Smith has become something of an institution in the city, springing up all over, from the East Village to Midtown to just across from Lincoln Center. One thing that unites these disparate locations is the amazing food. You know I’m picky about Italian food, but The Smith delivers familiar flavors in a way that is so satisfying. I’d call it comfort food, but not the sweatpants and sofa kind, this is more that Alexander Wang t-shirt kind of comfort.

So let’s talk the food. Because right now I’m literally craving their orecchiete which is served with chicken sausage, pickled chilies, and broccoli. This is the kind of thing that I usually make when I’m in a cooking mood, but they do it a little more elevated. The pasta is perfectly done; the orecchiete pasta is unique to find on the menu, but I love it as it’s a little bit heartier without being too heavy — almost like a gnocchi-lite, if you will, even though there is no potato involved here.

Servings are more than ample, so be prepared to get it to go, unless you’re super hungry.

If you’re looking for more of a drinks and appetizer type deal, I would recommend the crispy fried calamari and the beer battered string beans served with ranch. Yes, everything is fried, but it’s delicious. The string beans are literally my favorite bar snack ever — they’re crispy yet still crisp on the inside, the perfect blend of fried fetish and veggie cool.

For drinks, I would recommend the Cucumber Loco — silver tequila, cointreau, cucumber, lime, and a pinch of sea salt. Packs a punch, but it’s super refreshing and actually pairs quite nicely with the fried fiesta I described above. My next go to would be the spiced peach margarita, which is silver tequila, white peach puree, combiner orange, honey-chili syrup, and fresh lime. It’s like a Bellini gone bad, and I’m very ok with that.

The restaurant itself is beautifully built and decorated. I say “built” because the atmosphere is way more than just decor — it’s so well designed that you’re totally transported when you’re in the space. Subway tile, galvanized fittings, wood tables and chairs, penny tile flooring, and huge windows make this space at once expansive and cosy.

When the weekends roll around the Midtown location takes on a decidedly business suit after-hours vibe, but so it goes — East Village is my favorite location, so go for the food, go for the drinks. Also, if you’re up at Lincoln Center for Fashion Week, this is a great place to grab a seat and people watch while snacking. It’s right across from the tents, and is in a prime location.

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Jeff Smith

Jeff started in photography and short format video, and he's been at the forefront of the web tv movement. He’s worked on haute couture shoots in Paris, shot street style in Milan, and is currently developing a steady roster of beauty, fashion, and digital clients in NYC.