user's guide

A Guide to Recognizing Your Restaurants: Smith's v. The Smith

Left: Smith's. Right: The Smith.Photos: Noah Sheldon (l) and courtesy of the Smith (r).

Ever since Smith’s opened in Greenwich Village late last year and The Smith opened in the East Village soon thereafter, foodies have been a little confused. Both spots have achieved some popularity, which makes this a far more befuddling case than the one of B. Smith versus Smith’s in Hell’s Kitchen. To help you tell one from the other (we’re aware the above photos don’t do that), we’ve broken it down in a handy chart.

  Smith's The Smith
The Menus Smith’s menu. The Smith menu.
The Owners Cindy Smith (Raoul’s, Spartina) and Danny Abrams (The Mermaid Inn, The Red Cat, The Harrison). Glenn Harris and Jeffrey Lefcourt (Jane, Neptune Room).
The Kitchen Pablo Romero (Bouley) prepares artichoke pasta and steamed egg with creamy polenta and Gorgonzola. Brian Ellis (Jane) prepares Parmesan-encrusted lamb schnitzel.
The Space Has been compared to a railroad car, mirror-topped tables, bar in back. Narrow dining room. Has been compared to a railroad car, mirror-topped tables, bar in back. Airy dining room.
The Crowd Adam Platt spots a food editor and Anna Wintour’s assistant: “Successive waves of revelers turn the little space into a kind of swingers’ version of the Black Hole of Calcutta.” Gael Greene: “The joint is jumping — stuffed with students from NYU and Cooper Union, plus an occasional elder.”
The Critics Two stars from Adam Platt (“pretty good food”), one star from the Times (“fantastic lamb”), four stars from Time Out (“seaside excellence”), two stars from the Daily News (“Pasta is not the kitchen's forte”). No stars yet. Good review from Gael Greene: “Good, honest el cheapo grub.” Mixed from the Sun: “The dishes are rich, simple, likeable palliatives for homesickness … leaves out those of us who want something a little more special.”
The Cost Entrées: $21 – $26 $15–$23 
The Drop-in Adam Platt advises to go early or very late. Sunday nights: Burger and a beer for $12.

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