October 04, 2011

SmithHouse Tap & Grill - Century City, Los Angeles, CA

It seems that every time I go to New York I end up meeting randomly with my friend Rose, with the last occasion at the famous Spotted Pig in West Village (love the burger and gnudi!). During our meal, Rose was going into detail about how she's been cooking a lot and pondering a career in the food business. I spent most of the time convincing her how difficult it was going to be. I should have known better not to mess with a bona fide New Yorker and her intentions - Rose is now working directly with Angelo Sosa after a stint in the kitchen at Sosa's restaurant, Social Eatz. She dropped by Scoops Westside last weekend and brought over Froilan, one of Angelo's right-hand men who's overseeing the SmithHouse kitchen right now. I probably didn't think much of it when I heard that Chef Angelo Sosa was consulting on the menu at SmithHouse in Century City.

Think of Houston's, Rock Sugar, Gulfstream or Westside Tavern - restaurants that offer solid execution in a dark/modern space without cuisine that's too challenging for the average Angeleno diner. The restaurant has done a good job of setting themselves up for success by hiring the capable Sosa, but they went another step forward by building in 120 beer taps (maybe a bit of overkill), and then had bartenders Damian Windsor (one of my favorite bartenders in L.A.), along with Jason Bran and Simon Ford. The drink menu looks good enough, though I'm more overwhelmed by the beer selection.

I had a bunch of bites last week with my friends Chris and Grace, and plan it hit it up again before they summon Froilan back to New York. Not sure when that will be, but with the straightforwardness of the menu I don't foresee a big drop off in quality, especially for the reasonable prices.

I started out with the Belgian flight ($14), which features a strawberry lambic (Chris loved it, he of the sweet tooth), and four other solid Belgian-esque choices (Blanche de Bruxelles, Unibroue Maudite, Alagash Curieux to name a few). Each pour was at least 4 ounces, maybe even more, making the flight a pretty good deal and something really fun to drink throughout the meal.

 My friends each had a cocktail (check out more of the cocktails on my friend Caroline on Crack's post), the Mayan Mistress (Zacapa rum, lemon, vanilla, orange, passionfruit) and Black 'n Bulleit (a take on a blackberry bramble with Bulleit bourbon, cassis, blackberries and orange). Both were very good, though I thought it was almost wasteful to use a great rum such as Zacapa in a mixed drink.
Tuna Pastrami with housemade mustard, sweet and sour shallots
Pork Belly lettuce wedge salad with blue cheese and pickled shallots
Beer Fondue with soft preztels
Mac Daddy mac and cheese

Chicken Lettuce wraps
SmithHouse burger with bone marrow and parmesan crust
Grilled Tilapia sandwich with spiced onion jam

Overall the food is delicious, unfussy, and crowd-pleasing. The burger reminded me a lot of the Bradley Ogden burger with a terrific grind and soft bun, though the richness of the bone marrow made it almost impossible to consume as a whole (I split it w/ the Kims). Grace loved the grilled tilapia sandwich though after the burger it didn't stand out as much to me. Pretty much everything else we got is worth getting, though be prepared for some pretty heavy food. I could see myself coming here instead of the other more generic Century City chain-type places. The very East-Coasty, Americana type vibe inside would feel right at home in Boston or D.C., making it an ideal after-work and happy house venue with co-workers. The larger tables also make it a good meeting place for groups, and who can deny the awesomeness of free valet (with a text-message service to have your car ready when you're on your way out!).

The check came out to $129 after tip. The GM came by right afterward and lifted the check so we left a $40 tip in cash. 

SmithHouse Tap & Grill
10351 Santa Monica Blvd (and Beverly Glen)
Los Angeles, CA 90025


Darin said...

The tap selection is impressive enough to get me out here. Good to know the food matches up as well.

lainstilettos.com said...

Now that's a real burger. I'm craving one so muchh.


the actor's diet said...

the pretzels look so smooth and shiny!

mattatouille said...

Darin - the tap selection is definitely better than your average Yardhouse, but maybe not something like a Verdugo Bar. That's okay though, the food is better than either of those places (Verdugo has no food lol)

Grace - If you have access to a kitchen, make your own burger. I made a burger in Japan because I was craving one so badly: http://www.mattatouille.com/2009/09/funny-vignettes-from-japan.html

Actor's Diet: the pretzels and cheese were super addictive.

cheryl said...

matt, you lead such a great life.

slatefood.com said...

that burger looks so delish!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

strawberry lambic and beer fondue with pretzels i want!!!

Stephanie said...

i went tonight and everything was great! we had the lettuce cups with beef which were definitely more then youd expect from your average beer hall. the fries were great too, but the WINGS! they were amazing! plus free parking. cant be beat. i hope smithhouse has broken the curse of that space.