This past Saturday, a business associate of my husband gave us tickets to the Metropolitan Opera House's production of Fidelio. We had fabulous seats, six rows from the stage. As a further treat, our benefactor gave us a pass to the Belmont Room, which is just for Guild Members at the donor level or for Met patrons. It was a small room where you can get some light refreshments during intermission.
However, we had decided to have brunch before the show. It's difficult to find a nice, affordable dining spot in the Lincoln Square area. Previously, we had eaten at Nick and Toni's on West 67th Street, however, they closed in early January.
There were several possibilities in the area for lunch, PJ Clarke's, Ed's Chowder House and The Smith at Lincoln Square among others. After reading Yelp and Open Table reviews The Smith seemed like a good choice. Thank goodness we made reservations because this was one hoppin' spot on the Upper Westside on a Sunday morning. If you didn't have a reservation, I overhead a hostess say that there was a 45 minute to an hour wait. After a brief wait we were seated.
Our waitress was very charming. She quickly set us up with hot tea for my husband and a generously large cup of coffee for me; it was dark and strong. The restaurant gave us a small white paper bag containing delicious Italian bread. The presentation was quite clever besides neat, clean and cost efficient.
After prerusing the menu, my husband and I settled on brunch items. My husband had classic eggs benedict, but I chose benedict johnny. What goes into a benedict Johnny? It's cornbread topped with tasty maple chicken sausage pattie, and covered in a roasted tomato hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise was delicious and creamy with a bit of kick at the end....yum! The accompanying home fries were crispy and savory as they had an addition of caramelized onions. Oh so good! The table next to us started with monkey bread with toffee glazed served in a small cast iron pan. It look scrumptious, but filling. The Smith is known apparently for their avocado toast which is served on organic whole wheat toast, topped with local greends a dash of red pepper flakes and lemon.
If you're feeling ambitious, I did locate a Bobby Flay recipe for roasted garlic and tomato hollandaise. I would recommend leaving out the garlic if you want recreate a benedict Johnny at your house.
Overall it was a great spot before the opera. It was very affordable with brunch items under $20 with the exception of the steak and eggs ($24) and the short rib hash ($21). The monkey bread, which is under starters, is $9. The rest of the snacks and starters go up to $16. The Smith also serves a grilled chicken sandwich served with burrata, tomato jam, basil aioli, toasted sesame semolina, fries for $17. You get idea, something for every one, burgers, salads and typical breakfast items during brunch. For Manhattan, the prices were affordable, under $30.
If you find yourself in the Lincoln Square area I recommend The Smith. They also have locations the East Village, midtown (Second Ave. and 51st) and Nomad (Broadway and 27th).
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.