Restaurants in The InTowner
The InTowner
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Restaurant Review ~ The Smith / 901 F St., NW

Not to make too fine a point, the restaurant group known as The Smith has two locations in DC and eight elsewhere — in Chicago and Manhattan. So if you select this as a dining destination, realize The Smith has sister (or cousin) restaurants elsewhere. Are the menus the same? Not important, if in DC, what you want is a casual eatery either in the heart of downtown’s busy Penn Quarter or 14 or so blocks north in the U Street corridor.

photo–Alexandria Greeley–InTowner.

If you are a games fan, then head right to the Penn Quarter place, where on a recent Sunday about 500 Caps fans (moms, dads, grannies, and a swarm of uniform-garbed Millennials) had come for a breakfast/brunch before the game. Fortunately, reservations are available, and how terrific that was for the packed-in brunch. Otherwise, a wait for a table. Note: a staff member said that regardless of a nearby Caps game, Sunday breakfast/brunch time is always packed. Be forewarned. And even the online menu suggests to reserve ahead.

Desirable seating really is located by the huge windows, where patrons can watch the buzz along 9th and F streets, so close to the Capital One Arena and, two blocks east, the Regal Gallery Place movie theater complex. Otherwise, unless you have opted for their sequestered private dining setting, you will just feel lucky to get a table anywhere.

Scan the weekend brunch menu as you make you decide between still and sparkling waters. There are so many choices that you could think about ordering plenty and taking home any leftovers. The waitstaff suggested kicking off with an order of oysters and recommended one variety as the pick of the day. A bit pricey, but for anyone into oysters, splurge.

The balance of the menu is staggering, ranging from snacks and starters to sandwiches, eggs, griddled dishes, steaks, sides, and big salads.

A breakfast/brunch choice that seems right on is one of the griddled dishes — after all, a yummy breakfast should include pancakes or waffles. So why not pick their fried chicken and waffles. That gives you a bit of midday and breakfast goodies all on one plate. But be warned, that includes two pieces of heavily coated in crumbs chicken fried until crunchy, a big wedge of thick waffles, and a fried egg. And, yes, there’s plenty of maple syrup; the waffle is sitting in a pool of it.

Desserts include the usual popular treats, from apple pie to a birthday cake (?), but a real winner is the sticky toffee pudding, a classic British treat loved by all who eat it. And this one contains Medjol dates.

For beverages, you can surely order wine, but note that the menu also offers some brunch cocktails, including a Bloody Mary. And don’t overlook tea, coffee, and/or espresso.

The Smith / Hours: Mon.-Thu. 8am-11pm; Fri. to 12mid.; Sat. 10am-12mid.; Su. 10am-11pm. (202) 868-4900.

Copyright © 2020 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Alexandra Greeley. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without per-mission is prohibited, except as provided by 17 U.S.C. §107 “fair use”)

Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.