I used to live a quick jaunt from The Smith in lower Manhattan. Admittedly, most of my weekends as a young 20-something living in New York City were a bit blurry. But if our plans incorporated brunch at The Smith, I always remember being in for a treat.
Flash forward five years and I’m living in a new city, married, and on a new career path. I certainly miss aspects of New York, but I am also fortunate to visit friends and family who reside there quite often. Given my undying affinity for anything in D.C. that reminds me of NYC, you can imagine my excitement when one day, walking back from lunch in Penn Quarter, I saw the sign for The Smith light up.
The Smith in DC is so new, Uber doesn’t recognize it as a destination yet. However, when I arrived on opening Saturday, the place was packed. Clearly, people figured it out. The French-American bistro vibe is one of my favorite restaurant aesthetics. The large corner space is open, airy, and adorned with subway tiles, retro lamps, and wooden accents.
I was meeting up with my sister and our pseudo-sister, Maddie, who luckily is always on time. When we arrived, Maddie had already ordered us a round of Bellinis and the monkey bread—a signature starter—bless her.
The monkey bread was the perfect size and arrived on trend in a cast iron skillet. It looked like a Bundt cake more than traditional monkey bread and was doused in a smooth toffee sauce with powdered sugar. It packed a serious exterior crunch while managing to being sweet, warm, and moist on the inside. Between the sweet Bellinis and bread, brunch was already a treat.
We tend to balance our sweet with savory, so we also opted for the hand cut hot potato chips with blue cheese fondue, the burrata, and a half dozen oysters. Maddie is a Nantucket girl, so we let her select our oysters. They were so good, we realized we ate them all before taking a photo! We did love how the house-made mignonette sauce came out in a old school vinegar jar (and I managed to snap a photo of that above). The potato chips were fresh and crispy, but thick enough to hold what tasted like a blue cheese Velveeta cheese sauce. It was certainly not as overpowering as the pungent cheese tends to be, and for that we were thankful.
Being Italian, my sister and I have pretty high standards for mozzarella. This version, topped with tomato jam, was solid, but nothing to write home about. The grilled rustic bread, however, was perfection.
It was a dreary, overcast Saturday, so I think I was naturally craving comfort food. That, coupled with the fact that I had never seen a breakfast pot pie on a brunch menu, solidified my order. Again, they nailed the portion size. My pot pie comprised sweet sausage, bacon, and cremini mushrooms under a cheddar biscuit topped off with two perfectly cooked sunny-side up eggs. It was unique, but familiar and each bite was hearty goodness.
Christina ordered the BLT + E sandwich, because we knew someone had to get fries. I’d like to take a minute to personally thank The Smith for bringing its hand-cut french fries to D.C. They are quite simply, the best. Ugh, just looking at this photo of them makes my mouth water. If I wasn’t already signed up for Pure Barre tonight, I would walk across the street and treat myself. Moving on, the croissant was flaky and the bacon in the BLT was cooked just right and was complemented nicely by the lemon aioli. The whole sandwich was a winner and what I plan to order upon my return.
Maddie was in the mood for smoked salmon, so she tried the smoked salmon toast which came topped off with perfectly cooked poached eggs. The ciabatta bread was thick but crispy, slathered in lemon mascarpone, and topped with spring onion, crème fraîche, and tomato. The salmon was fresh and the mixed green salad was a nice, light addition to the carb-centric entree.
We polished off another round of delicious Bellinis (that went down way too easily) and enjoyed people watching from our little corner table. Brunch at The Smith was a true treat, just like I remembered.
The Bitches say: A. A bit pricey and no bottomless option, but the hip vibe, service, and quality American food is worth the price tag. Add this to your brunch to-do list for the fries alone. The Smith will absolutely be our new go-to spot for post-work drinks, brunch, and dinner dates.
The Smith D.C. serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays starting at 10 a.m. (202) 868-4900