Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Smith @ Lincoln Center

Last night Hubby and I went to catch the ballet production Sylvia at the Lincoln Center. I met Hubby in front of his workplace and we walked over to The Smith (which gave me two giant calluses on my feet from walking on uncomfortable heels) for dinner. On a side note, NYC should consider having subways linking the East and West side because it is really inconvenient to get across by walking around Central Park.

It was already pretty packed when we dropped in around 6pm. Thank goodness Hubby had made a reservation beforehand, or else we probably would have never gotten a seat.

But we were able to skip the line. I wanted to sit in the outside patio, but Hubby said he was going to suffocate in the heat if we did, so we sat near the window overlooking the patio in the front of the restaurant.

The waiter explained to us the specials for the day, which were lobster rolls that came with house-made potato chips, and PEI oysters for appetizers.

They give you a bottle of flat water and a bottle of sparkling water on the house, which was pretty nice. The water tasted pretty refreshing to cool off from the summer heat.

Another waiter brought over a roll of bread tucked inside a white lunch bag, and some heated butter. I was starving by the time we got to the restaurant, so I couldn't wait to butter up the bread.

Unfortunately, the bread tasted kind of stale (I later found out that they kept a giant portion of these at the back, so it was easy to receive for the pre-theatre rush. But also meant that it was probably not baked in house and was cut-up pre-hand and sitting on the shelf to rust away.) The crust was too hard for my liking (had to be careful not to chip my teeth), and the bread itself was over chewy. The butter was nice and mild, but a little too oily.

The waiter brought over a bottle of Heinz ketchup, which perplexed Hubby a bit because he wasn't sure what we needed it for. I had read the menu before-hand, and wanted to try the blue cheese fries fondue that everyone on Yelp was raving about, and the mustard encrusted trout. But Hubby wanted me to try their lobster roll (I never had one before), so I got that instead. Hubby got a bar steak with field greens.

While we were waiting for our food I was people-watching and staring at the tables around us (since it was too noisy inside to even hear yourself think). The Smith was apparently a great place for friends gathering.

The table in front of was a group of guys who ordered a chicken pot pie, a pot of mussels, brick pressed chicken and something else that looked like pasta. The table next to us was a group of ladies that resembled the girls from Sex and the City. They ordered some really colorful items with salads and a pizza, which all looked pretty appetizing. The next adjacent to us ordered some fried crispy calamari and a string bean salad.

Lobster Roll with House-made Chips

Finally, after 15 minutes of drooling over other people's foods, our dishes finally arrived. I had envisioned my lobster roll to be accompanied by a plate of home-cooked rosemary potatoes, but it was really just chips like the waiter had described.

I squeezed some fresh lemon onto my lobster roll and started to munch on the chips. Unfortunately, the chips were over-seasoned with rock salt and spicy peppercorn, which made it at once salty and burning to the tongue. 

The lobster roll provided a nice refreshing contrast to the heat of the chips. The lobster meat was cut up and intermingled with finely diced onions, tomatoes and some arugula in a mild mayonnaise/tartar sauce. It was pretty light and summery, but I would have preferred my lobster to be a little more cooked, as the meat was a bit too tough to chew.

The Smith Bar Steak 

Hubby's bar steak looked pretty good. I took a bite of his field greens in vinaigrette, which was decent (at least compared to my salty chips), but definitely not as good as the one we had at Angelo's. The arugula in this salad was too bitter, and the vinaigrette a little too sour, so it wasn't the best combination for salad dressing.

I did like how there was a popsicle stick stuck in his steak that read "M. Well". At first I thought it read "H. G. Wells" as in the sci-fi novelist, but then a careful inspection prompted me to LOL.

The steak actually tasted pretty good, charred on the outside with BBQ sauce smothered on top and cooked medium well like Hubby requested. Actually our waiter had to come back to confirm that medium well was indeed what he wanted, since I guess most people have it medium rare. Only complaint was it was a bit over cooked for medium well, as the meat inside was a little too tough.

But Hubby seemed to like his steak just fine, devouring it in a few bites. I liked their gravy bowl pictured above.

I on the other hand had trouble finishing up my plate of chips. Hubby didn't like the chips either so I had to do my best to finish the most of it. He did like the lobster roll though.

I was downing 2-3 gulps of water per 3-4 chips, which was pretty bad considering I am a huge potato lover. On top of that, it was hard to carry a conversation over dinner because you literally have to scream your head off for the person opposite of you to hear. There was also a table with two young children near us who was competing for attention, but their parents were apparently used to it and just happily munched on (sometimes even joining their children's histrionics). 

Alas, the waiter stopped by when we were not even done our meal to clear our plates. Jumping on this opportunity, I got rid of my chips (sorry for wasting food).

But it occurred to me that I was still hungry, so I got the last bit of bread before he cleared everything away and squeezed some ketchup into the butter cup. I mixed it a bit so it looked like a white and red Taichi symbol and dipped my last bread piece into it. Sadly, it was the best part of my meal.

By now, there was a huge lineup for the restaurant, and their outdoor seating was pretty much filled up. The bill was $76 for the two dishes we ordered, not including tips.

We headed to the Lincoln Center to pick up our tickets. The Lincoln Center was pretty packed, though not as packed as the Swan Lake production that I watched with my Mom last year.

I am a huge ballet aficionado, and I've watched Sylvia's premier at the Lincoln Center in 2005, so I was explaining to Hubby the ins-and-outs of ballet. I really liked the principal dancer Polina Seminova who is (the face of Uniqlo's shirt ads in the subway) both technically sound and displayed elegance. The male dancer was a bit meh in my opinion, because he actually didn't have that big of a role, just a lifting the female around and round.

Surprisingly, sitting in the same row as us was my coworker and friend who brought his sister to watch the show. I surprised him during intermission.

It's always wonderful watching classical arts at one of the top theaters in the world, and I love the sight of the fountains springing up in front of a huge crowd of people. I guess that cancelled out the not-so-great experience I had at the Smith. If I ever go next time I'll be sure to order something else, or maybe try the restaurant next door =)

Btw: You can check out my other NYC photos here.

** (2/5)

The Smith
1900 Broadway (at 63rd)

Kids-friendly (they provide high chairs)
Reservations necessary for weekday evenings (especially pre-theatre nights)

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