SMASH Restaurant.....a surprisingly pleasing third choice!
Went to Elemental for dinner w. fellow 'foodies' found it closed, then went off to 'nearby' Tilth and found it packed and unable to seat us....by necessity we stopped in at 'SMASH' wine bar & bistro (2 doors west of Tilth) and were very, very pleased that this became our dinner spot by 'default'.
We enjoyed a delicious spinach salad w. warm bacon vinaigrette (Not the usual stuff), a fabulous charcuterie assortment w. Salumi sausages and house made Chicken liver mousse...accompanied by a tasty smoky mustard aioli.
The Paella was a standout....one of the best I"ve had in the city. And the Cassoulet was delicious with no pasty/heavy pudding like quality: it was the perfect mix of textures & flavors...both dishes were not too large portion-wise...just the right amount, in fact, for these usually heavy entrees.
Lastly, the Seared Sea Scallops with Pomegranate glaze and orange beurre blanc were perfectly cooked and a stand-out flavor-wise.
And.... their wine list is remarkably varied and exciting...with generous pours with the appropriate elegant wine glasses for specific wines ordered.
What a find!...oh and the service was perfect..... the atmosphere warm, romantic with tables spaced reasonably! Who could ask for more in this town. Bon Appetit.
I'm very happy to hear this! Smash has been a favorite of mine since they first opened. The original chef left (and she was awesome) and then the position was filled by the owners husband (and he was not so awesome). The last time I was there they had another chef and the food quality was definitely improving. The wines were always great and (shhhhhh, don't tell anyone) they make great cocktails too.
What I really like about the place is that they don't rush the experience. My girlfriends and I are table campers and they're happy to let you sit and chat as long as you like.
I do miss Jeffrey the original wine guy though. He was so passionate and knowledgeable about wine.
And like Lauren, I miss the original chef too. But i've also heard that things are improving now.
And I'm glad they added a happy hour. $5 glass pours (house selected) from 5-6:30 is a nice way to start the evening.
Definitely go! I didn't avoid it (it's too close to my house to do that!) but, for a while, the food was not up to their usual standards. It's very fun and Dana, the owner, is a great host. Like stolenchange, I miss Jeffrey a lot. He was so knowledgeable about wine and tons of fun. I keep meaning to head out to Barking Frog to see him.