When The Smile first opened back in 2010, it was billed as a "cafe and mixed use concept store." We always preferred the term "Cracker Barrel for models," but the reality is that no matter what the terminology, there was never any mixing of uses when it comes to this place. This is and always has been where New York City's most attractively unemployed people come to have breakfast at noon.
Though The Smile has been open for several years now, we're betting you still haven't heard much about it - probably because you actually have a job. Situated a few steps below the sidewalk on Bond Street, it's a place that you have to be looking for to see, and other than for the models and musicians that fill it for most of the day, it remains relatively under the radar. Yes, brunch and breakfast are popular (and very good), but The Smile doesn't get tend to get overrun by people during either meal. Diners eat and linger, everyone seems to know each other, and everyone looks really good - even with dirty hair and last night's clothes on.
Dinner at The Smile is surprisingly good too. Imagine Freemans without the two hour wait, though also know that it's probably not a good spot for a first date, just because The Smile really is a cafe more than anything else. A cafe full of models. And that is probably not where you want to have your first date with anyone.
A very simple French toast done with small pieces of baguette and drenched in honey. Served with an amazing maple syrup and fruit, it's a modest but incredibly tasty plate.
A popular and excellent brunch item at The Smile, we've seen a few variations on the menu. One particularly good version is served with avocado and bubbly melted cheese.
Smoked Salmon With Lemon Caper Cream Cheese
This is simply smoked salmon on a thick piece of Sullivan St. Bakery multi-grain toast, with lemon caper cream cheese and a little red onion. One of the best things we've eaten here.
Roast Beef Sandwich
Roast beef piled high with a lot of arugula and horseradish cream. Simplicity seems to be the name of the game at The Smile, and this is basic but delicious.
Roasted Beet, Watermelon Radish & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
This is a dinner menu dish, and is a nice combination of thinly sliced watermelon radish and chunks of beet, with buffalo mozzarella interspersed. A good starter, but I did find myself wishing there was more mozzarella in the mix.
Seared Thai Beef Salad
Our go-to lunch move, as this spicy salad is the perfect size, has plenty of steak and a nice contrast of flavors with the nuts, mangos, and cilantro.
A waiter recommendation, and a successful one. We've beens seeing a lot of Thai flavored mussels lately, and this one is successful, mostly because the coconut milk balances out the other flavors.
Roasted Balsamic Chicken
A somewhat reluctant order on my part (the pork sausages or lamb meatballs are more my speed) but this also came with an insistent seal of approval from my server, and it did not disappoint. A perfectly roasted breast and thigh with crispy skin and fingerling potatoes. Order it.
Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookie
Always necessary. They make an amazing cookie at The Smile. Don't sleep on it.