By Amy Zhang
It’s always a tragedy when one of your favorite restaurants, a restaurant you’ve never been nervous to bring a new friend or celebrate a birthday, lets you down.
On a glittering Monday morning, The Smith, located on the usually bustling cross-section of Third Avenue and 11th street, is bathed in a soft glow. And delightfully, no people are amassed under the awning as is usually predicted for the famous American brasserie.
I enter the restaurant, and a pleasing waft of breakfast smells, including the pasty scent of restaurant’s signature cheddar biscuits, immediately buoys my mood. The staff is welcoming as I hurriedly join our party of nearly 20 guests, who are sitting near the end of the restaurant and waiting for the remaining stragglers.
All bodes well until I look down on the table where three lonely plates of biscuits and plenty of empty water glasses stand like sentinels. Only two heavenly biscuits sit within each plate. After a kind request for more food, measly mounds of spinach and a few more biscuits arrive onto the table. And for a group of 20, the guarded way in which the food is served seems to strain our conversations as well. Following rules of etiquette, no one is willing to pull from the obvious shortage. Strike one.
I take a menu, and pick from the minimal number of selections. Actually, the list spans only a single page and choices are few and far in between. Waffles, French toast, oatmeal, eggs, and a sandwich. Though The Smith is not celebrated for its breakfasts, I cannot disguise my thoughts. The choices are disappointing. The quality of the food must be spectacular, because that was strike two.
When our courses arrive, immediately a wave of relief washes over our group. We’re hungry, and we soon dig in. The waffle in front of me is beautifully proportioned, the perfect golden brown color and
rained lightly with powdered sugar. A dollop of whip cream makes my stomach boom. As others take their first bites as well, I make a confident cut with my knife. And then I know. The battle is lost. A bite into the seemingly scrumptious corner feels like lying down to roll down a verdant green hill, but dejectedly finding it made of AstroTurf.
The dough tastes no different from the wheat bread rolls purchased from Whole Foods. The meager number of strawberries and powdered sugar that now seems carelessly splattered on the top provide no consolation. Strike three, and I’m out.
Our trip comes to an end, and I begrudgingly pay my $15. Though the atmosphere and people, decorations and artistry have always hooked and absorbed its patrons, I left feeling disenchanted. I might give it another chance and perhaps the Smith can forge our bond again. But not likely.