Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the smile

Tucked away downstairs, on Bond and Lafayette in NYC's Nolita, is a concept store meets cafe called The Smile. An uber cozy hipster haven selling Wool and the Gang goodies, C.O. Bigelow products, and Kroneberg 1664 to sip alongside your Harissa Honey Roasted Chicken Sandwich with Preserved Lemon Aioli. A little hidden gem, if you will.

I don't "do lunch" enough. I realize that for the most part that's due to financial reasons and my insistence on brown bagging it (most days) to work but there's something kind of special about treating yourself to a nice lunch with a friend. And on a gorgeous sunny and unseasonably temperate Sunday after making an afternoon at Astor Wines, I popped on over to The Smile for lunch with my pal, Berit. I had never heard of the spot but Berit was raving. And Berit, by the way, has impeccable taste.

"I'll see you there in ten."

While we waited for our table (what was said to be a fifteen minute wait ended up being well over a half an hour. hmph.) we ordered two basil lemonades. Berit's favorite. And now mine too. Not having yet had my iced coffee fix for the day, the brightness and perfectly balanced tart-factor of this lemonade did a fine job of perking me up in no time. Fantastically refreshing and with sun pouring through the windows, I almost felt like when I walked outside, I could shed my layers to my t-shirt and skip home in the premature spring warmth. Order one when you go.

I'm a sucker for sandwiches served on baguettes. Particularly a classic Parisian one consisting of ham and cornichons. This one was sporting country ham, gruyère, coarse grainy mustard, and cornichons. The baguette could not have been any more appropriately soft and chewy and the razor thin sweet pickled radishes and cucumbers served alongside were especially charming and enjoyable when tucked inside your sandwich. A near perfect bite.

While I may not be a lady who lunches (regularly), I could get used to popping into The Smile every now and then when the occasion arises. That said, let's make a date.

The Smile
26 Bond St. (at Lafayette)

FOOD: 37
SERVICE: 24 (very, very slow but could be attributed to busy sunday and one girl waiting on the entire dining room, but, c'mon)
LOOK: 17


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