Here’s a first. The Smith co-owner Jeff Lefcourt describes his restaurant opening Monday as a piece of clothing. “The décor and the vibe, we want it to feel like a comfortable old pair of jeans,” he says. Translation: He wants people to feel like they can come in casually dressed, several times a week for either a burger and a beer or a celebratory seafood tower followed by steak.
The Smith replaces Mccormick and Schmick’s at 901 F St. NW near the Verizon Center, though it was originally slated for CityCenterDC. It’s the first location outside of New York City where there are sister brasseries in Midtown, NoMad, East Village, and Lincoln Square. To those who balk at out-of-town concepts being dropped off in the District, Lefcourt says, “”The energy, our culture is about being a neighborhood place, friendly, hospitable—nothing about who we are is corporate culture-y.”
The expansive something-for-everyone menu encompasses raw bar selections, salads, comfort food mains like chicken pot pie and burgers, five cuts of steak, and pasta. Each day of the week has a specialty dish like fish and chips (Tuesdays) and fried chicken (Wednesdays). Order a dish that comes with fries, as The Smith has dedicated employees who work overnight perfecting them.
Lefcourt says the menu from Executive Chef Brian Ellis will be very similar to the ones in New York, but they’ll be switching up their suppliers to source from local farmers and watermen.
The drink menu has roughly 25 cocktails ($13.50 each) arranged by flavor profile like crispy, boozy, and spicy. One of Lefcourt’s favorites is the “Hungry Teacher” with bourbon, mint, lime, and lemon because it’s named after a teacher he had growing up that would emerge from the closet smelling not-so-faintly of booze. “I had to name a drink after him,” he says.
There’s also wine by the glass, carafe (about three glasses), bottle, and big carafe (about six glasses), plus eight draft beers and eight bottled beers. Some are local.