A casual, dynamic, overbearingly loud space whose patrons seem to think it's always 10 PM. Despite some inevitable inconsistencies when it comes to the food, The Smith is an ideally lively and upbeat scene to take guests from out of town.
The almost deafening din that reverberates around The Smith can be attributed both to the large, fairly open dining room with echoing tile walls and to the steady crowd of twenty- and thirty-somethings that have come for the scene as much as anything. Even at this location in East Midtown (but really, where are we? Who lives here?), reservations for brunch and dinner on the weekends are a must to avoid the hour-plus waits that can stack up quickly. Fortunately, The Smith isn't still a place that people have been waiting a month to try, so reservations even the day before aren't extraordinarily difficult.
Of its three equally trendy locations, The Smith in East Midtown seems to cater to a slightly more adult crowd less inclined to reminisce about their fraternity days a year or two ago. The kitchen is just barely noticeably better at food preparation and execution here, too, making the trek to this No Man's Land of Midtown worth it, particularly for a lazy brunch with a big group of friends.
The menu seems to fare far more successfully in its simpler dishes than in those moments when the kithcen tries to get a little too creative, and as such, the Mac and Cheese tends to be a forever favorite. For brunch, the Mushroom Omelette with wild mushrooms, garden herbs, and fontina is a satisfying testament to The Smith's ability to cook eggs well, if there's nothing otherwise surprising about the dish. I've also found myself occasionally craving the Roasted Tomato Soup with a perfectly gooey and crispy cheddar cheese melt on top for those days when a lighter brunch is necessary. The long menu can sometimes feel as if it's going on and on, but the Sicilian Baked Eggs with artichokes, burrata, and spinach in a spicy tomato sauce with a side of ciabatta has become my other top pick.
The dinner menu has more of a diner-meets-steakhouse feel to it, but again, simple dishes like the Short Ribs, Smith Bar Steak, and Steak Salad with arugula, endive, goat cheese, tomato, and a balsamic dressing are the best bets. To end every meal, I think a side of perfectly thin, crispy, and salty fries in a massive cone are inherently necessary.
For a particularly loud scene that lends itself well to larger groups looking for an average-priced brunch with more fun than substance, The Smith is a name that everyone should know.