A friend and I had dinner at Smitty's Grill in Pasadena last night and here are my thoughts.
First off, the fact that this restaurant had complimentary valet parking was a nice plus. As some of you may know, parking in Pasadena doesn't always come cheap.
It also turns out that we were lucky to even get a table since I hadn't made reservations. The place was packed, but thankfully, we were able to get the last available table.
The restaurant itself, though small, had a warm and welcoming ambiance. The lights were low, but not so low that you couldn't see what you were eating. The noise level was pretty high, so if you want a quiet dining experience, this restaurant on a Saturday night is not the best choice for that.
The service itself was great. The nice thing about the wait staff is that when they walked by and saw that you finished eating, they swept away the near-empty or empty plates right away.
Now in regards to the food, we started off with a cup of the soup of the day, which was a tomato basil soup sprinkled with a cheese that I can't remember the name of. Although the soup was a good temperature, not burning hot, neither my friend or I cared for the flavor. The soup seemed a little salty, which may have been because of the cheese, but we weren't sure.
As for our entrees, my friend had one of the specials, dover sole with a lemon cream sauce while I ordered the cornmeal coated rainbow trout from their regular menu. My friend wasn't that excited over her dover sole. She mentioned that her dish seemed a bit bland.
I, on the other hand, loved my rainbow trout. It was grilled in a sage brown butter and was sprinkled with pumpkin seeds that were also sauteed in the butter. Wow! I definitely made the right choice. The cornmeal, nutty, buttery taste of the fish is something I'd go back for.
The side that came with the rainbow trout was disappointing. I ordered sauteed spinach with garlic, but if there was garlic with that spinach, I must have missed it plus I think they cooked it for too long. It seemed "soggy" to me.
We ended the evening with one of the best bread puddings I've ever had. Their apple, walnut bread pudding was moist and had a lot of flavor plus it sat on a bourbon cream sauce that was just heavenly. Every time I cut into the bread pudding with my fork, I dipped it in that sauce like there was no tomorrow.
Overall, I think Smitty's is a good restaurant and one I'd go back to.