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Smith Street Restaurants

I have been living in Brooklyn for 25 years and traditionally went to Manhattan to dine. However, I have chosen in the past 6 months to begin to sample Smith Street's best. Well, I now know why I have gone to Manhattan. Last night was the last straw. I didn't have the time to eat the fixed price dinner at Chestnut, which I heard was pretty good, so I went a couple doors down to Savoia. It was remarkably bad. The service was horrible and the food was basically inedible. My beet, arugula and goat cheese salad was simply disgusting. The beets were meely and tasteless, the arugula so bitter I had to spit it out and the goat cheese clearly came from some supermarket shelf. This was followed by a white bean bruschetta that was obviously mashed beans from an old can. The orata finished off the meal as a tasteless, overcook limp of bad fish. How this place stays in business is a mystery.

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  1. i think you ordered some ambitious dishes for a place like savoia. i mainly stick to pizzas or pastas if i ever go there. even when i do, i'd hardly call the place remarkable.

    1. Sounds like quite a disappointing meal. I'm with the_state on this one -- I'm rarely adventurous enough to try anything beyond the pizzas (which are actually decent, but not spectacular) at Savoia.

      Then again, not sure it's fair to write off Smith St. based on a lousy meal at Savoia. Your post hints that you've had other Smith St. disappointments. So have I. But I've also had some wonderful meals at some of the Smith St. standouts like Saul. No argument from me that there are more destination places in Manhattan, but Smith St. is close by (for me at least) and there are plenty of reliable options. Whether Savoia is one of them is a different question.

      1. BTW, if last night means Thurdsay, you would have been unpleasantly surprised at Chestnut. The prix fixe is Tuesday and Wednesday only.

        1. Have you tried Lunetta? I had amazing gnocchi there a few weeks ago.

          1. i agree with the_state and jmh - savoia is not particularly representative of the quality of food to be found on smith st.

            i would recommend saul, jake walk, lunetta or chestnut. on court i would also recommend osaka, frankies and fragole. if you're willing to walk a bit further, Lucali is wonderful (henry) as is bachuus (atlantic).

            i am curious: did you have any other poor experiences on smith?

            2 Replies
            1. re: abr269

              We went to Chestnut for our anniversary dinner Sunday night and were so disappointed that we won't go back. We have enjoyed other dinners there
              but this time the food was fussy and forgettable (and expensive as usual). We didn't let the crappy food ruin our celebration but Chestnut has gone so far downhill that it's permanently off our list. Au revoir.

              1. re: efdee

                not to pile on, but we were in Chestnut recently and were sorely disappointed.

                Nothing was so bad that it required being sent back, but the mild foods were bland, the bold flavors were off, items were missing (key) listed ingredients, and there was grit in my mushrooms AND clams.

                We've only had good to great meals there in the past, and I was willing to dismiss the bad reviews here as it was a special occasion meal and my fiancee had her heart set on Chestnut. And while I didn't say a word during our meal, when we walked out her first comment was: "Should you start a 'downhill alert' on Chowhound?" ha!

            2. as others have said, savoia is certainly not smith street's stand out. at best, it is a neighborhood, not in the mood for anything else on a wednesday night type of spot. a number of the smith street spots are of this caliber, and i think have many popular neighborhoody manhattan equivalents as well. however, there certainly are smith st. standouts: i still think chestnut is great, saul, po, lunetta (better the last couple times ive been than the few times before that), grocery (though i find it overpriced and think saul is better).

              in the step down restaurants that i still enjoy: ki sushi, the little cuban place (?), patois, provence en boite, panintoteca, szechuan garden (for fresh, order-in, way better than others in the area chinese), cafe luluc.

              2 Replies
              1. re: vatl619

                not sure if anyone has mentioned Ghang Thai, but i find it to be consistently good. agree also with Lunetta's, and the Cuban place, Cubana Cafe, and Ki Sushi.

                the notion that everything in Manhattan is good and everything on Smith is bad is just silly.

                1. re: korgy

                  I also like Ghang Thai. I think its the best of the neighborhood Thai, and they now have khao soy noodles as a regular special, which I think they list as Chang Mai noodles. The Cuban place is called Cubana Cafe.