Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Restaurant Review: Smith Commons

First, let me begin by saying I won't be too harsh in my review because I did go on the 3rd day after their opening, so I'll be nice. 

I'll begin with the space itself. It's a 3 story renovated row house located on the revitalized H Street NE Corridor.  On the inside it's absolutely beautiful tons of exposed brick, contemporary lighting fixtures and tastefully chosen furniture.

My girlfriends and I arrived at 6:45, just in time for Happy Hour, unfortunately HH only included beers and Jim Beam or so the inexperienced waitress told me.  I ended up ordering a margarita.  It literally took our bartender over 10 minutes to make it.  I was wondering what was taking so long and was shocked to look over and see she was reading instructions on how to make the drink (yes! a margarita) and was using the jigger to actually measure out everything.  Really?  I couldn't help but laugh because she looked so serious as she measure out every ingredient and constantly referred to her guide.  Nice, friendly girl but her bartending skills were definitely not up to par.  Imagine if I would've ordered something not so common.  I'd definitely expect more from that kind of establishment.

So we left the bar for our 7:30 dinner reservations and were promptly seated at one of the larger tables in the back of the restaurant on the 1st floor.  Shortly after we were seated, our waiter came over and we ordered our drinks and meals.  I ordered a glass of Riesling and was told they only had a Riesling blend.  After reviewing the wine list again, I politely corrected our waiter and informed him that they did in fact have it on the menu.  Let's just say I should have just had another margarita because I was not a fan of that Riesling.

Since they were offering 25% off for food on their limited first week menu, I wanted to take full advantage.  I ended up ordering a Caesar salad, the Tiger Prawns with a side of potatoes and the Molten Chocolate cake.

The wait for food was pretty slow considering the dining area wasn't that crowded but the girls and I were having a great convo so it wasn't a huge issue.  For some reason, my entree arrived just before my appetizer salad, so my food was left to get cold while I ate it first.

The salad was a typical caesar salad, nothing to rave about.  It did have capers and some toasted parmesan which gave it a slightly different taste.

I was pleasantly surprised by the tiger prawn dish.  It was topped with extremely fresh tomatoes, diced and cherry, with a mixture of olive oil, basil and something else I couldn't quick pick out.  It was delish!  Wish I would've ordered the larger portion since it only came with three shrimp.  I also ordered a side of potatoes (since most of the dishes don't come with any) they were tasty and well seasoned.

Lastly, the molten chocolate cake came out.  It was nicely plated but not at all what I had imagined.  Usually when it's a molten cake, it has hot chocolate inside of the cake, this one did not.  It was a small, actually tiny, piece of chocolate cake served in a teeny-tiny ramekin with a smear of melted chocolate on the plate and some thick whipped cream (I was hoping for ice cream to offset the chocolate).  The cake was a little dry for my taste.  Afterwards, I realized I should've just ordered a glass of Moscato d'Asti for dessert (since they had 2 on the wine list which isn't very common).

Overall the food was good, I wasn't overly impressed.  Our waiter was extremely friendly and we had a lot of fun joking with him which made the experience better despite a few hiccups.  Local celebrity Paul Wharton (Stylist and Real Housewives of DC character) was there making his rounds as a social butterfly and posing for pics, so it made the night a little more interesting.

After dinner we ventured upstairs to check out the 2nd and 3rd floors.  They both had fairly large bar areas and a few seating options.  It seems to be a pretty laid back with a nice, diverse young professional crowd.

With that said, I definitely intend on going back.  Hopefully in the coming months they'll have all of the kinks worked out.

Food B
Ambiance A-
Service A

Smith Commons
1245 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

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