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Apr 6, 2006 04:50 PM

Citizen Smith -- more like Citizen Ick!

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Last night I mistakenly caved into the appeal of being able to make a reservation at Citizen Smith vs. waiting for a table at Lou. Bad move.

To start, I absolutely hate the decor, which is a weird mix of OTT Goth (candles, chandeliers, "distressed" wood tables) with Gaucho Chic (cow hide-lined walls) and the occasional ironic nod to mod (plexi boxes around aforementioned chandeliers). Their stupid "Urban Bistro" motto is painted on the floors and planter boxes and in the bathrooms. Reason enough to leave.

Spotty best describes CS's service. I get bottled water, and then only one other glass of tap water is brought to our table of 4. Two other glasses sit empty for about 15 minutes. The wine takes about 20 minutes to arrive.

Crowd is some very young green Hollywood kids, and middle aged folks who want to feel they're a part of the former's mileu. Almost felt more Sunset Strip like than east of Highland. Now, I love me some Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, but in this environment I couldn't wait until "The Chain" was over. Other "younger" music was a sampling of the heaviest rotation songs on every WB show music supervisor's middle-of-the-road list over the past 2-3 years (Coldplay, Zero 7, etc.).

Because I can't eat raw meat these days I order their signature burger (attempting to be a hybrid of Hungry Cat and Father's Office) medium. It was CHARRED. I had to use a knife to cut through the hard, burnt exterior. Meat was totally flavorless. Potato chips look gorgeous but some were soggy and had a strange Cajun spice mix. Stick to salt, people. And go to the Sunset Tower Bar to get a sense of what real kick ass homemade chips should taste like.

The fried chicken comes with FOUR pieces. WTF? Who needs FOUR pieces of soulless, boneless fried chicken breasts? American gluttony is clearly a feature of the menu, too.

Place was packed from start to finish, so they’re doing something right. Guess underestimating the tastes of Hollywood denizens is a safe business move.

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  1. i went a couple of days ago and can't remember a thing good about this place.

    1. Went there with a bunch of girlfriends last weekend and none of us liked our meals. I ordered the penne, which was unremarkable. A friend ordered the pasta with vegetables and proclaimed that "it was the most bland dish she's ever eaten." The "burger sliders" were okay, but White Castle needn’t be worried. The salmon was nothing to write home about. The only tasty dish was the mac-n-cheese. But, c’mon, how hard is it to make mac-n-cheese? My six year old nephew can make a decent one.

      Reserving a table at Citizen Smith is only worth it to avoid the velvet rope.

      1. I wish I had read this last week. AWFUL!! We had reservations for six and were given a booth. Nice, but a little cramped for six. We asked for a table and got an extra chair. It went downhill from there. Old lettuce in the salad, tasteless fried chicken, when one of our party asked for ketchup for her burger the response was,"What do you need it for? YOur chips?" (which tasted rancid). The grilled chicken salad was barely edible and the espresso was sent back. LOUD, too. Why didn't we leave is the question?

        My subsequent complaint to the management went unacknowledged.

        I give the place six months.

        1. I met some friends there the other night, and I actually liked the decor and patio (well, maybe not the motto part). I agree about the crowd, which looked kind like the old Sunset Room crowd -- enough said. The man next to us at the bar had the silly stack of fried chicken, which looked like chicken nuggets to me. My friends just had drinks and I'm happy to say I didn't give them any money at all -- just checked out the decor and went up the street to Lucky Devils for a yummy hamburger and beer! The moral is, if you must check out the Citizen Smith scene, have a drink and eat elsewhere.

          1. Been there twice now--I like the decor, and the patio is a nice place to sit when there's a breeze and it's not as crowded earlier in the evening--actually has a big city feel, set as it is between two buildings.

            The food however, was inconsistent. This time around my friend ordered a steak--it was cooked perfectly medium rare, and though we ordered a sampling of all three topping sauces (blue cheese, bearnaise, and a sour vinaigretter), it tasted great all alone. My ahi was cold, and over-seasoned, as if they tried to cover up the fact that it'd obviously been seared while frozen and then left on the counter. Highly disappointing.

            Dessert was the highlight. Great caramelized apple tart, and a "frozen hot chocolate"--really just a milkshake in a brandy snifter, but yummy just the same on a hot night.

            Wine list is just sad, and knowing so, we brought our own wine. But alas, they didn't have a decanter in the house. Ridiculous, especially considering I paid $25 corkage (twice!!) but I should have known better when I saw that a 40-oz. Old English 800 was listed on the specials board as "Urban Swill" for $15.

            It's all about image here, it seems, and the more baroque and idiotic, the better.