Met a friend in Pasadena today and she suggested Smitty's Grill. I was in the mood for tapas, but a good old-fashioned American B&G sounded appealing with the gloomy weather and all.
We were seated almost immediately in the crowded main room. Noise level was a little high, it's definitely popular with the business lunch crowd, although a Chinese family with a tween with her own cell phone was at the next table.
Menu is a mixture of sandwiches, "comfort food" such as Meatloaf, Mac and Cheese with Ham, Liver and Onions, Chicken Pot Pie, etc., also Steaks, burgers and two panini sandwich choices, some salads (the Smitty sounds particularly interesting with white shrimp, English peas, blue cheese nuggets, etc.) and daily specials. They also have an extensive wine list both by the glass, the bottle and a few half bottles.
We ordered a half bottle of the Rombauer 2001 Merlot, really a great choice. It starts out a little sharper than most Merlot but after a few sips, softens nicely and was eminently drinkable -- wish we'd ordered a whole bottle but it was lunchtime after all.
Our waiter Noe was extremely attentive and aimed to please. I ordered the special Scottish salmon filet (thick, tender, juicy) grilled with a light Pommery mustard cream sauce. Came with a generous portion of pencil slim grilled asparagus spears.
Friend had chicken piccata which she said was very good, although I thought her portion was pretty small for $13.95. Although her dish came with spinach, she asked for the asparagus and Noe was happy to accommodate (although he said not to mention that he said it was okay!)
We split a dessert of Michican Cherry Cobbler with a scoop of Fosselman's vanilla bean ice cream and I ordered a decaf coffee. Don't you just hate it when you order decaf and they give you the swill that's been sitting on the burner for a while with that nasty burnt toast flavor? Me too, so I flagged Noe down and told him the coffee tasted a little old, so could he brew a new pot? No problem, he said. He apologized and said he would do something special for me but it would take a few minutes. Less than five minutes later, he came out with what I presume was a decaf espresso type coffee but in a regular size cup. It was perfect!
He earned his tip right there by taking it on himself to make the customer happy. This indicates good management to me. Also, the owner came around to make sure we were happy, another nice touch.
The 2 entrees, dessert, half bottle of wine and coffee came to approx. $78 with tax and tip. Not too bad and the food was good, not outstanding, but well prepared and delicately seasoned.
Definitely recommended for those seeking a nice upscale lunch on trendy South Lake Avenue. It is part of the restaurant group (Smith Brothers) that owns Parkway Grill, Arroyo Chop House and the ubiquitous Crocodile Cafe.
110 S. Lake Avenue
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