Same site, same set up as the Chicago’s Uno Pizzeria that formerly occupied this space, yet The Smith has garnered so much more press and popularity than its Italian chain predecessor. Exuding a “trendier” vibe with tinted windows and a dimly-lit backdrop, this classic American joint simultaneously offers a spacious seating area rarely enjoyed by NYU students and East Villagers.
I’d stay away from dinner (dry, bland pasta experience), but brunch is definitely worth your while. There’s a touch of French bistro quality, with the hard-tiled floors and open air, especially noticeable on a bright Sunday morning. The restaurant welcomed a wide-ranging crowd, from design students with laptops to couples with strollers.
You get complementary bottles of flat and sparkling water upon being seated. You’ll find the usual eggs and french toast on the menu, but listen out for their specials. I got the huevos rancheros with lobster topped with avacado slices. The base was a warm tostada, pasted to the plate with a thick black mole sauce. The pillow of swiss and lobster scrambled eggs sat on top of the tortilla, fluffy like a cushion for the light tomato sauce and fanned out avocado half.
Jay stuck with his steak and eggs. The steak, requested medium, was one of the juiciest and most well-prepared slabs of brunch steaks we’ve had in a while. It seemed like it was tenderized, grilled, and subsequently roasted in its process to the plate. And the eggs over easy were fresh, without any hint of overcooked rubberiness or greasiness.
So beyond being situated in such a prime location, The Smith has been able to capitalize on this position at the intersection of so many different brunch crowds with thoughtful, unpretentious dishes. Give it a shot if you’re ever around campus.