The Smith Midtown
There’s something happening, and I’m not sure that any of us are ready for it. Slowly but surely, new and successful restaurants are opening in the East 50s. Some people call this area Turtle Bay, and some people call it Midtown East. But almost nobody calls it a great part of town for dinner. So why are restauranteurs investing in a place that most people only visit for work or intramural beer pong tournaments? Because this is officially the final frontier. New York City has become so food obsessed that even Midtown East has cool restaurants. And if this is the final frontier, The Smith Midtown is the Starship Enterprise.
We wrote about the original outpost of The Smith very early on in the history of The Infatuation. We’ve always been impressed with the upscale diner atmosphere, the solid menu, and the success that the restaurant has had with the young-drunk-lady-types. But when we walked into the new Midtown restaurant, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. This is not just a reincarnation of the cozy original East Village location. This is a giant, glaring beacon of recession-proof dining capitalism - a multi-million dollar room built for people that are just a few years too old for the cool parts of town, but a few years too young to be staying in on Friday night with the kids. And they are absolutely killing it. We soured a bit on the original Smith recently because the food had fallen off, and it had become too overcrowded to warrant any more visits. But this new location is perfect for where it’s been placed. The food is better than what the East Village location is serving right now, even though the menu is exactly the same. The room is constantly bumping (waits are frequently an hour or more), but in a more “adult” manner. What that adds up to is one of the best options for dinner you’ll have at your disposal if you find yourself in this area.
The only difference between the new Smith and the old Smith dinner menu is this giant raw bar selection. There’s something about white tiles in a restaurant that makes us want to eat shellfish, and there are a lot of white tiles here. Oysters are the way to go, obviously.
Ricotta Gnocchi With Truffle Cream
A staple from The Smith menu. We’ve always loved it, and we always will.
The Smith Bar Steak
We’re starting to learn that the best way to avoid a disappointing meal here is to keep it simple. This bar steak is an easy pleaser, and if you order it along with the full menu from the raw bar, you get a suit for free. They call it the “business class special.” OK, maybe they don’t, but they should.
A play off bacon-wrapped dates, better known as Devils on Horseback. We like it better with the apricots and couldn’t believe how good these were.
Baked Pretzel With Spicy Honey Mustard
The pretzel is tasty, but that honey mustard is so spicy it will take the white off your teeth. Dip with caution, or forever regret it.
Braised Lamb Shank
A big, beautiful hunk of meat that’s only available on Tuesdays. Get it if you can.
Spaghetti & Meatballs
When we first saw this ridiculously huge bowl of pasta, we thought it was a joke. It’s fairly delicious, but it’s almost like someone’s playing a prank on you. Nobody needs that much pasta.