Finally, another reason to visit Century City, other than the mall! Across the street in the old Kula space is new sports bar/restaurant SmithHouse Tap & Grill by Curtis Nysmith (Capitol City). Yeah, I was skeptical of it at first, too, especially since I was not a fan of Capitol City. But when word got out that SmithHouse’s drink menu was created by the crème of the cocktail crop and that there were also 120 beers on tap, well, things were looking up.
Sure enough, after an impromptu meeting with some friends at the new restaurant, which was quiet on a Monday night, I’ve decided that I’m really loving SmithHouse and would like to make it a regular stop on my way home from work. Why? Because of these seven reasons:
- First thing’s first: A cocktail menu created by top mixmasters Jason Bran and Damian Windsor of West Hollywood’s Roger Room with Simon Ford, Pernod-Ricard brand ambassador and a well-respected bartender. Are you kidding me? Even the drinks which feature flavored vodkas like in the Cantaloupe Caipiroska with Absolut Wild Tea Vodka, cantaloupe and lime and Smitty’s Cider with Absolut Orient Apple Vodka, apple juice, lime and cinnamon are sure to change any cocktail snob’s (my) mind about the nightclub staple. Sure, the bartenders’ skills here might be not up to par with the likes of the Roger Room guys but the Bitter Lady cocktail I had still came out beautifully…even if my dining companion didn’t like his Whiskey Sour.
120 taps…well, 113 if you don’t want to count PBR, Budweiser, Pacifico, Stella, Bud Light, Coors Light or Amstel Light, which I don’t. But they have many winners like North Coast’s Old Stock Ale 2011, Firestone DBA, Allagash Curieux and St Bernardus Abt 12.
$10 beer flights with five tasters! I always say that beer flights are the perfect way to try a bit of everything without having to fear you’ll be stuck with something you hate. SmithHouse has five themed beer flights to choose from: Belgian, Californian, Eastside, European and The Fruit Basket with fruit-infused/-flavored beers. The beers are served in mini mugs and carried out in a wood tray. Special delivery!
Beer cocktails and beer floats. With 120 beers, it makes sense that they offer not only half and half beer cocktails like the Black and Tan (Bass and Guinness) and Greatness (Lost Coast Great White and Guinness) but beer floats. Choose between three lambics and a chocolate stout to go with your vanilla ice cream. Sure, not as many choices as one would have hoped but still nice to have that option.
Free valet! Since the restaurant is not located in Century City Mall but across the street, it can be tough to find parking nearby. Fortunately I was able to score parking at one of the meters but I like the idea of free valet as backup. Plus, when you valet you can text them when you’re paying your bill so that they have your car ready by the time you exit the restaurant!
Not the same-old, same-old with regards to pub food. I’m not a Top Chef fan like a lot of my blogger brethren so telling me that Top Chef Angelo Sosa is the man behind the menu is a sure way to get me to shrug. But oh what an interesting menu: corn brulee, edamame burger, tuna Reuben melt, and beer fondue. I wasn’t crazy about the too-saucy grilled Tilapia sandwich with Sriracha mayo and spiced onion jam and the Cheddar Crunch Burger elicited an “It’s OK” from the resident burger expert at our table. But damn, that corn brulee which was topped with a corn crumble crust of sorts, which you dig through to get to the creamy corn layer and blueberry compote. And I like that they have some intriguing veg options. Dishes range in price from $9 Caesar salad to the $12 Vintage Burger and $52 for Porterhouse for two.
Happy hour is the standard 3 to 7pm on weekdays but beer specials are $3 selected domestic, $4 selected import and $1 off rest of the rail. Cocktails are $5 well and $7 premium. Bar bites are 50% off.