I’ve been wanting to visit The Smile since I arrived in New York in late June. I’m not sure what prompted my incessant desire to go there, but I knew it was a must visit for summer 2012. I thought that it would be easy to cross it off my to do list; after all, I’m always around Bond street.
Little did I know that it would take the majority of the summer to eat and drink coffee at The Smile. I could have been sitting down in the dark basement restaurant every morning for who knows how long if only I had gotten my act together and visited sooner. Luckily, I made it before leaving for Italy and now I get to look forward to going back in the winter, which doesn’t sound too bad.
The Smile is a part cafe and part restaurant located on Bond Street between Lafayette and Bowery. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of place, with only an simple sandwich board and weathered wooden sign in front to signify that you’ve arrived. There’s also a tiny bench outside if you want to get your coffee to go and eat in the gorgeous sunlight.
Yet, it’s difficult to resist the cool charm of the restaurant’s interior. When you enter, you’re ushered into a wood-filled world that is part log cabin and part forgotten shack in the woods. There are a few light fixtures, but they don’t disrupt the dark and cozy atmosphere. The tables are distressed wood — there are plenty of them — and there is metal bar seating running along side a center staircase if you want to have a view of the entire restaurant from your perch.
That’s where I sat. I looked over the menu even though I already knew what I was going to order. There aren’t many options, but enough to keep you coming back until you’ve tried the entire menu. I got the seasonal stewed fruit with almonds, honey and granola which was marvelous. The oatmeal cooked in coconut milk looked lovely, as did the eggs with a tiny side salad. The menu actually reminded me of the food at Lantana in London. Simple food, prepared well. The kind of things you might make at home, only kicked up a notch.
While I was eager to try the coffee, I am disappointed to say that I drank my cappuccino with my meal and wasn’t able to truly taste it. What I did save for the end, however, was quite good. Next time I go there — I will go back — I’ll definitely order my coffee for the end of the meal. Why would you want to waste the best part of your day?
The Smile on Bond Street brought a smile to my face and I can’t wait to go back for lunch, dinner, brunch and then return for breakfast.
Do you like to have coffee with your meal or do you prefer to drink it at another time of day?