The Restaurant Project: Smith Commons (June)
June 30, 2011 § 6 Comments
We went a little bit out of our comfort zone for July’s Restaurant Project, to the revitalized H Street area of DC, which is apparently where the majority of the city’s hipsters have gone, in case you were looking for them. (Standout bars include sideshow-and-burlesque parlor Red Palace, and if that’s not your speed, you can play mini golf — for real — or Buck Hunter at H Street Country Club.)
A few weeks ago we ran into an old friend over drinks at Smith Commons; the bar food was so impressive (ginger dusted scallops, thyme pesto lamb chops!) we booked an evening for dinner. A few somewhat disheveled thoughts:
- If you plan on visiting H Street, park on the south side, not north; the Stanton Park neighborhood is much, let’s say, friendlier. (When I say out of our comfort zone … someone had gotten stabbed at a bar across the street the night before; it was a wee bit unsettling but at least gave us something to make jokes about all night long.)
- When booking, request a table in the back. We ended up at one of the cozy tables in the front, near the bar, and every time I used my knife, I elbowed an Ed Hardy type in the soft middle back. Be warned that you may end up with the same fate, depending on when and how you book your reservation.
- It’s loud. Really, really loud. It’s fine for hipsters and it’s fine if you plan on drinking to the point where you won’t feel sheepish about yelling (or if you get there accidentally), but you will need to yell.
- When choosing your beer, count off a few possibilities to your waiter, just in case. They were out of Scott’s first two choices, which caused a lot of flustered back-and-forth for our waiter. I can’t tell you which beers they were because beer, gross! The wine list is nicely organized, too, if that’s more your taste.
- You should order the pork duo — pork loin and pork belly, served with apple butter. It was almost the perfect combination of salty, savory and sweet. It was so good, I yelled about it. Luckily the Ed Hardy guy was gone.
- You should skip the salmon. We wanted to try something from the seafood menu as well as the grill, but this dish — which arrived in an apple broth — was just overall unappealing.
- Lock the door when you go to the bathroom. There are two private, single stalls for everyone, and co-ed sinks. It could get really awkward if you’re in there taking your strapless bra off when a handsome dude walks in. Just sayin’!
- We skipped dessert because I had the idea of Sprinkles cupcakes in the back of my mind (which didn’t happen), but they had wasabi gelato on the menu. If I could time travel, I would’ve tried it for the sake of comparing it to Kushi’s.
All in all … I’d go back to Smith Commons, as the starting point for an H Street appetizer crawl, but I wouldn’t eat dinner there again. I’m much more curious about trying the Belgian fare in the quiet of Granville Moore’s across the street.
On the Docket for July: Graffiato