Smith Commons is open for business on H Street at long last. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be.
OK, they’re just on a learning curve, but after going in for complimentary bar snacks that only I seemed to know about, things took on a bizarre upstairs/downstairs sensibility. At 5:30, communication lines between the bar on the second floor and the kitchen on the first floor were still muddled.
Once the plates of food arrived, I was only partially mollified. The lamb lollipops were very flavorful and well done; the prosciutto wrongheadedly wrapped around one end of a crispy breadstick was not.
On the drinks front, happy hour features all beers on tap (except the Dogfish) for $5. The selection was varied and appeals to an foreign-leaning imbiber. House wines were also $5, but don’t expect a generous pour.
The decor, the place itself, was truly delightful. There are three floors. The second floor’s giant street-facing picture window has a very romantic appeal, with two giant winged armchairs making it a prime lounging spot. The third floor will have an alley-facing deck, sure to be popular when warmer weather arrives. The music selection adds to the old DC feel: DC in the 1920s (raw red brick, wood paneling, rotating black and white pictures on the screen above the bar).
And I’m sure Smith Commons will improve greatly by the time summer rolls around. But right now, the customer’s experience is way too close to the staff’s. It is impossible not to notice the mistakes that should never see the dim light of the restaurant.
Management offers a 25% discount (except drinks, tax and tip) through this Sunday. If you have money and a lot of patience, please be my guest.