LaZer on a Sunday Morning with Shochu, Calvados, Sake, Rhubarb, Smoked Honey
Sea Lettuce Cookie, Wasabi, Borage Leaves
Fried Sourdough Funnel Cake, “The Farm” Maple, Hokkaido Uni
Fava Beans, Aromatic Herbs, Buttermilk, Onions
Shima Aji preserved in Nuka, Pine Cones
Shima Aji Ribs barbecued over Spruce, Sorghum, Kaluga Caviar
Lightly steamed Halibut, Lemon Balm, Kombu, Fermented Green Tea, White Asparagus, Mussels
Dried Corn, Pecan Sandie, Squab Liver Mousse, Hickory Nut
14-day Dry Aged Squab wrapped in Sorrel, Foie Gras, Burnt Honey, Roses
Snap Peas, Spring Onion, Trout Roe
Dungeness Crab, Foie Gras, Scrambled Kani Miso
Caramelized Sweetbreads, Red Wine, Yeast, Crispy Beef Tendon
Lamb Breast, Soured Cream, Trigo Fuerte, Alium, Flatbread
Jeanette’s Lamb Tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon
Milk Chocolate, Raspberry Preserves, Kelp, Shiitake
Juniper Berry Pudding, “The Farm” Honeycomb
Egg Yolk soaked in Salted Licorice, Frozen Yogurt Meringue, Farro-Koji Crumble
Blueberries, Roses, Black Currant Wood, Kombu Ice Cream, Olive Oil Gelee
Black Carrot, Licorice, Maple
Grilled Canele with Hay
In many ways a homecoming for John and Karen Shields, time in the kitchen of Charlie Trotter followed by years transforming an unknown rural Restaurant into destination dining yielding a situation where building their dream became reality, it was walking upstairs from The Loyalist that Smyth was found ready to expand on the couple’s journey and rival any American Restaurant in recent memory as relates to the entire guest experience.
Named after the county in Virginia where Town House still stands and the ideas developed inside those walls, a combined resume including mentors such as Achatz and Gand plus Trotter coupled with truly farm to table cooking and no boundaries or “expectations” beyond the ones they create, guests entering Smyth will immediately find themselves inside confines that feel refined yet familiar, a small foyer complete with coffee table and knick-knacks to one side plus a host standing just outside the kitchen confirming reservations alongside his smiling associate.
No doubt built with ambitious goals, the loft-style layout creating seamless flow from dining room to a polished steel and natural wood kitchen lined in Pickles and Spices, it is with bill already paid and menu selected via TOCK that convivial servers approach to offer Drinks, a Cocktail titled LaZer on a Sunday Morning from the mind of Kirill Kuzntsov proving both refreshing and seasonal with great balance.
Working closely with Rebecca Papineau’s The Farm to assure continued access to the sort of ingredients the Shieldses became accustomed to in Chilhowie, the bulk of Smyth’s Produce brought in daily from those twenty acres an hour south, it was wasting no time that several nibbles started things off, a Cookie made from Sea Lettuce and painted with Wasabi immediately causing the mouth to water followed by creamy Hokkaido Sea Urchin perched atop fried Sourdough with Maple Syrup from The Farm.
Playing a staff selected soundtrack from the 70s, 80s and 90s overhead at modest volume, more than one sever witnessed dancing and singing along over the course of three hours, it was as a song from Prince reached its end that freshly shucked Fava Beans arrived in a broth of Buttermilk with Whey removed and Onions added, two cuts of imported Shima Aji soon to follow with the Filet presented aged amidst picked Flowers and Pine while the Rib was sticky with Sorghum and utilized first as a delivery mechanism for Caviar.
Continuing with a fairly sizable filet of steamed Halibut doubling down on umami, a Consommé of Tea with Mussels and Asparagus adding complexity to each flaky forkful before being slurped from the bowl, it was again in two parts that Squab was offered, housemade “Pecan Sandies” first acting as the base to a bite-size Pate Pie which was quickly followed by ruby-red Breast wrapped in Sorrel atop a reduction of Pan Jus, Liver and Honey.
Pumping the breaks with Snap Peas and vibrant Spring Onion Broth speckled by Trout Roe, a texturally marvelous concept that refreshed the palate before again diving deep, if one were to name the very best plate amidst many that distinction might well go to Shields’ Dungeness Crab Chawanmushi supporting a slice of Salt Water Poached Foie Gras, though no less worthy could be its follow-up of a hemisected Sweetbread cooked tender atop what tasted like Sourdough Puree and given crunch by Beef Tendons cooked like Chicharróns.
Rounding out savories with one final two-step, young Lamb Breast and Shredded Jerky in housemade Crème Fraiche spooned onto fluffy Flatbread and eaten by hand before sipping a Broth of Bones and digestive Spices, it was just past 9:45pm that the evening was placed in Chef Karen’s capable hands, Milk Chocolate infused with Mushrooms an elegant transition bite thanks to sour Raspberry preserves while lightly torched Pudding was not so sweet itself but instead a deft foil to Honeycomb both candied and in its natural form.
Not the sort of place where sugary Desserts would “fit,” an Egg Yolk made chewy by salted Licorice dazzling in its whipped and frozen Whites, it was oddly missing a menu-listed dish of “Burnt Milk & Honey” that the nights final full Dessert came by way of Blueberries in two styles plus Kombu Ice Cream, a Carrot prepared similarly to the Egg Yolk and a flawless Canele tinged in smoke sending guests off into the night wondering when, not if, Smyth will be awarded Michelin 3* status.