Hi friends! I don’t know about you but I recently had one of the best weekends in a long time. It was the birthday weekend of a good college friend so a gaggle of New Englanders descended on my apartment and the city. This birthday happened to be a thirtieth birthday so naturally there was only one course of action: dinner at The Plaza and brunch at The Smith. The Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza is one of my favorite NYC finds. Tucked away behind the lower level shops, we technically ate in the basement of The Plaza but it’s The Plaza nonetheless. What makes it a favorite is the remarkably delicious and varied cuisine in a social yet cozy atmosphere. I happen to think it would make a great third or fourth date spot. I wouldn’t know seeing that I haven’t actually been on a third or fourth date in quite some time but, hey, a girl can dream.
Between our voracious appetites and umpteenth glass of wine we had to exercise some self-control and NOT order everything off the menu. A sampling of what we had: Risotto Tater Tots with truffle aioli (the truffle makes this otherwise mediocre appetizer truly delicious) Maple bacon lamb chops that had great flavor but were slightly skimpy for the price, gluten free pomodoro pizza-couldn’t even tell it was gluten free, and the night’s winner: grilled octopus. I didn’t have any since I wasn’t sure how I’d react but no one else seemed to mind, more for them.
I’ve been here quite a few times and the tots and a pizza (regular or gluten free) are my usual picks. I like to incorporate one item at random each visit; this time I went for the Philly cheesesteak tacos. I thought they’d still use shaved beef but instead the tacos were stuffed with miniscule pieces of tougher than average steak. Don’t get me wrong, the flavor was on point (watch out Pat’s and Geno’s) but the cut and preparation of the meat led the dish astray.
Dinner was agreeably delicious but the resounding approval came from brunch the next day at The Smith. Clad in subway tile and covered in a healthy mix of communal and individual tables, the place is very New York. Everyone ordered some sort of egg dish (yay eggs!). There were some eggs Benny, a dressed up ham and eggs with gruyere, baked eggs with tomato and artichoke, and, leave it to me to order the most interesting item: potato waffles with creamed spinach and poached eggs. The portions were plentiful and ingredients fresh and flavorful. I was apprehensive about creamed spinach but I would happily eat that by the spoonful. I thought the potato waffle was going to be more of a hash but no, it was a dense, savory creation that everyone else couldn’t wait to try.
Fantastic food, even better friends, lack of sleep and diminished bank accounts can only mean one thing: a weekend well spent. Until the next dish, ciao!