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The Death of Smith St. - A Long/Short History

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The Death of Smith St. - A Long/Short History

KenOnDean | May 24, 2003 11:16 PM

There once was a street of culinary delights in Brooklyn named Smith St. It was born out of creative chefs that couldn't afford Manhattan rents that just wanted to find a place to practice their art. It caused quite a stir when all of the big cities media started to focus their eyes on this little street - especially when the king of them all, the New York Times handed out some very nice reviews to a couple of the resturants - they were starting to hang with the big fish and were dubbed the "resturant row of Brooklyn".

There was a time when you knew the names of the chefs/resturanteurs (often they were one in the same) Charlie, Alan, Saul, Dianna, Ahmed - real people with real passion who welcomed you into their resturants as if you were walking into their homes. Each one with their creative, innovative take on food and each with something different to offer.

Then something happened, a large French bistro opened in the middle of Smith St. - it was big and there were lines out the door. It was a this point the street changed - it was now possible to make big money. The Smith St. gold rush was then on - resturants started opening at an alarming pace, many of which had very similar concepts. A street that probabily started with 15 resturants soon boomed to about 50, crammed on to the tiny Brooklyn blocks - and they ALL suffered.

Something else changed also, the new resturants started to become much more annonomous - who were the chefs? Whose resturants were these? They started to become just peices in a puzzle, almost a fromula - just here to make a buck. Resturants started coming and going and even if you drove on Smith St. every day you couldn't keep track of the "PROGRESS???"

Some of the pioneers are still there, some have left, and after all, not all of the new places are bad. The thing is, the street that had such a huge heart has lost it - it has become a Frankenstein of sorts - mismatched peices sewn together that makeup a monster. It's sad, but at least I have many memorable meals to hang on to . . .

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