For many years, the Smith has been a New York brunch staple, with its hearty, enormous plates of comfort food and spacious build-outs acting as the go-to spot for brunchers seeking a spot that’s good for groups, family friendly, and easy to get a reservation.
The Smith draws you in with its gorgeous, monochromatic bistro-style ambiance that’s vintage yet sleek and comforting yet stylish. The restaurant keeps your attention with an array of unique, hand-crafted cocktails that also happen to be rather strong. The Chinatown location is always packed, so we’re happy to have a second outpost in D.C.
The coffee program is reliable—coffees, decafs, and cappuccinos were enjoyed by all. But it was the cocktails and the comfort food we were after. The recent ushering of a new season brings with it new cocktails, and we were happy to sample. The Bloody Mary was spicy, light, and flavorful—and went down quite quickly. We also sampled the frozen French 75, a gimmicky take on a classic cocktail that we hate to say we enjoyed. The Smith definitely gets points for trying.
The Smith offers a solidly hearty brunch menu, with Benedicts, pancakes, French toast, pot pies, mac n’ cheese, and the like—this is the restaurant that led the charge on the post-brunch nap culture. You will definitely need a nap after brunching at the Smith.
In addition to a table filled with cocktails and coffees, we shared the mac n’ cheese, which is one of the best in the biz. It’s a cast iron skillet, densely packed with creamy, white cheddar cheese and noodles with a crispy, baked top.
The baked eggs were an Americanized version of shakshuka, and utterly delicious. Eggs, feta, and spinach were baked in a flavorful tomato sauce and served in a sizzling skillet. The crispy, crunchy baked bread was a welcome addition, perfect for slathering with tomato, cheese, and egg.
Skillets are the name of the game at the Smith—and there’s a breakfast pot pie that’s worth ordering. It’s a chicken pot pie with a thick, dense, and moist biscuit topping, baked in aforementioned skillet and topped with two bright and sunny fried eggs.
The Maryland natives may be less than satisfied with the crab cake eggs Benny, and should opt instead for a classic ham or salmon Benny. The Benedict was fine—the Hollandaise was delicious and the eggs poached correctly, but the crab cakes left something to be desired. Too much fried, cakey breading and not enough jumbo lump crab meat. It has some sautéed spinach and a nice flavor to the Hollandaise, but that did not compensate for the lackluster ‘cakes.
The steak & eggs offerings at the Smith are really something: you can select between four types of steak: the Smith bar steak, NY strip, filet mignon, and bone-in ribeye. The steak of your choosing is served with sunny-side up eggs, home fries, and a mixed green salad. Naturally, we chose the filet mignon, which was a beautiful, moist, tender cut of meat served medium rare, and hidden under an egg. It was a clean, well-executed dish, but the steak was the main event. The rest of the plate was just so-so.
The Bitches say: B+. The Smith is a reliable place for brunchers of all types: groups, families, and sets of friends looking for large plates of food, strong cocktails, and plenty of space. It is probably not the option, however, if you’re looking for a healthy or light brunch.
The Smith serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays starting at 10 a.m. (202) 250-3900.