The Vegetarian Option: The Smith
All it takes is glancing into The Smith as you walk past, and you can feel the trendiness radiating from within. It's long been a hit with the weekend brunch crowd, and has the added massive benefit of actually accepting reservations. But their dinner menu is pretty diverse as well, so we decided to go ahead and give their vegetarian options a try.
It's no secret that bar snacks are a strength of The Smith, and the ever-popular potato chips with blue cheese fondue ($8) were easily the best thing we ordered. The fondue smothered on the house-made chips makes them unnaturally good—creamy, salty, even a tad sweet—without any of the excessive funkiness you might fear the blue cheese would impart. A few friends, a few drinks, and a bowl of these sounds like a perfect night to me.
The roasted tomato soup ($9) has one unique twist— it comes topped with a cheddar melt, like that of French onion soup. Thick and stewy, it reminded us more of pasta sauce than any soup we've had. We only wished that it were a bit more flavorful, but if thick oozy cheese in your soup sounds like a dream come true, then that might make up for any shortcomings.
A popular feature of their brunch menu, the mac & cheese ($13, pictured above) is available at lunch and dinner as well. Maybe it was just that we were already on a bit of a cheese overload, but for $13 we expected to be a bit more blown away. It's a fine specimen, but there are several other mac & cheeses in the city that we're much more likely to go out of our way for.
The real surprise of the menu is also the only vegetarian "main course" offering—the vegetable bibimbap ($17). The kimchi in it isn't vegetarian, but we simply ordered without. Given that they're not known for their Korean fare here it's no surprise that this isn't the most authentic bibimbap in the neighborhood, but on the other hand it really wasn't bad, and we found it to be more satisfying than the mac & cheese. Few people are going to come here seeking out Korean food, but if you're a vegetarian in need of something more substantial than the bar snacks, the bibimbap is not such a bad choice.