By Terry Biener
The Smith’s Modern
451 Atlantic Ave., East Rockaway
(516) 612-6231, www.smithsmodern.com
Over a year of hard work and major renovations have paid off, resulting in the lovely, intimate bar and restaurant, the Smith’s Modern. Owner and restaurateur Eamon McGowan had built this place with passion — his many years in the industry, his love of fresh, creatively prepared natural foods, and most recently, his affinity to the East Rockaway community.
Manning the kitchen is Frank Jeannetti, a talented chef with decades of experience. From Brooklyn to Kingston, Montauk to Miami, he has cooked for fine restaurants and hotels, owned a catering company, and attended culinary school in Manhattan. He and McGowan are on the same page … each is intent on enticing clientele with unique cuisine.
The menu is concise and ever-changing, divided into Snacks (starters) and Substance (entrees). As Smith’s is still new, fare is a work in progress with exciting ventures in the planning. Price-wise, appetizers are $7 to $12, and entrees, $15 to $28. Roughly a dozen wines are listed: $7 to $15 a glass; $26 to $50 a bottle. Unique cocktails and craft beers are also available. Most items are made from scratch. The chef will accommodate children with kid-friendly offerings.
Sipping Tavernello Pinot Grigio, we started our feast with Roasted Red Pepper Potato Bisque, creamy and steamy, with a spicy kick. Parmesan Polenta Fries — large rectangular ones — were offset with Jalapeno ketchup. Replacing their original “Battered Fish & Chips” is an impressive version — crisp homemade fish sticks molded with white fish and salmon drizzled with lemon-caper aioli, joined by cabbage slaw and a bowl of seasoned fries.
Smith’s Cottage Pie (a variation of Shepherd’s pie which is traditionally made with lamb), was beautifully presented — ground sirloin, carrots, peas and onions, topped with dollops of mashed potatoes gratine’ that boasted four shredded cheeses and brown gravy. Pan Roasted Snapper dusted with rice flour was served on a bed of Beluga lentils, with garlic sautéed broccoli rabe and chili lime crème. Also remarkable was Free Range Boneless Crispy Chicken, served with zesty white and orange sweet potato hash, garnished with fresh rosemary, drizzled with apricot chicken jus. Best burger ever (!) was (so juicy and flavorful) Bleu Cheese and Truffle Burger made with Wagyu beef, topped with frizzled onions and homemade fig jam, sided with cherry tomatoes and fries.
The Smith’s Modern opens at 4 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday. Custom designed parties for up to 50 guests can be arranged. Parking is plentiful, on the street or in the Municipal lot next door. Reservations are suggested.
■ Parmesan Polenta Fries
■ Roasted Red Pepper Potato Bisque
■ Fish Sticks with Lemon-Caper
Aioli & Chips
■ Bleu Cheese & Truffle Burger
■ Crispy Skin Roasted Boneless Chicken
■ Smith’s Cottage Pie
■ Pan Roasted Red Snapper