After a weekend of seriously overdoing Halloween (My friends and I dressed up as the NYC subway on Friday night and my boyfriend and I were Pacman and Blinky on Saturday. If you’re wondering if I held true to my promise to the internet to not be slutty, I tried–pictures to come), I was very much looking forward to a homey, relaxed, and gluttonous Sunday night. Luckily, dinner at The Smile on one of my favorite little blocks in Manhattan, Bond St. in NoHo, proved just that.
My boyfriend and I met his brother for dinner after a friend recommended The Smile for a low-key but delicious date night. I had managed to make the reservation a mere hour or so before, and was a bit nervous at how big bro would recieve it. Let me explain. My boyfriend’s brother is the kind of person that makes me feel want to re-evaluate my culinary, and general, life choices. He gets breakfast at Locanda Verde on Monday afternoons and enjoys liesurely strolls through TriBeCa, after which he works out of the Ace Hotel until the evening. Earlier that weekend, in a little less than the time it took my boyfriend and I to watch every episode of Homeland (has anyone seen Homeland? It’s really good), he had taken a five hour cooking class in which he learned how to hand-make his own pasta. When we go out with him, he takes us to underground cocktail lounges that I later can’t find mention of the internet. I wanted my hungover Open Table-ing skills to impress, and impress they did. (Big bro, if you are reading this post, I would like to make your an administrator on my “Restaurants To Try” Google Doc. If you have the time for something that silly. Actually, never mind. That doesn’t exist. Unless you’re interested).
The Smile is located in a rustic, exposed-brick basement. It is extremely dimly lit by candles at each small wooden table. Feist and other Girls That Sound ExactlyLike Feist play sweetly in the background (This winter, I would like a mix tape called “Girls That Sound Exactly Like Feist”). Pastel-colored knick-knacks line the walls, along with vintage clocks, little figurines, and an antique typewriter I wanted to buy on the spot (This winter, I would also like an antique typewriter).
[Image c/o NY Mag. The Smile is also a cantina/coffee shop by day]
An outrageously adorable waitress who looked like she probably was the Girl That Sounds Exactly Like Feist singing sweetly over our dinner took our orders for drinks (tea, please, after the weekend we had), pre-appetizers (fava bean crostini with homemade ricotta/a cheese plate for sharing), actual appetizers (we were hungry) and entrees. My judgement of her service may have been biased due to the intense girl-crush I quickly developed on GTSELF, but she was perfectly attentive and knowledgeable. If she ever reads this, I would like for her to know that I would do anything to be her best friend. And also, does she have recipe for that butternut squash?
My entree, the seared flank steak, was actually my least favorite of our table’s. The butternut squash was a rich, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cold-weather delight, and the lamb meatballs satiated–we mopped up extra sauce with several refills of bread. I was too full for dessert at the end of our meal, which gives me ever the more reason to return to The Smile. This place is ideal for a Sunday dinner or a brunch with friends. The warm atmosphere invites you to linger, and the menu items all taste familiar and well thought-out. I would like to get my hands on Girl Who Sounds Like Feist’s schedule/seating chart, and bring my mom and girlfriends to enjoy this quaint and wonderful little spot sometime during the cold dark winter.