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My Memory of Smyth

When I was on Facebook yesterday, I had a “memory” at the top of my news feed. One year ago, I splurged and had the most luxurious meal of my life.

Now, normally I am pretty frugal when it comes to eating, but I was lucky and won a $100 gift card to Smyth, the restaurant in the Light Horse Hotel. Smyth’s menu regularly changes, because they only use the best ingredients they can find, so when I went back to the menu to find out the names of what I had eaten there, I came to a dead end. Luckily, that meal is one I will never forget, so I can probably recount the courses, save the names.

My boyfriend and I were freshly 21 years old when we went to Smyth, and as soon as we walked in, we felt like we were not fancy enough to be there. It was dimly lit and had a beautiful dining room. All the tables were wood and iron and even the ceiling had interesting metalwork. A long bar sat in the corner with a gigantic man making the drinks. We sat down and our server acted like he knew us, and made for a very pleasant experience. First we ordered drinks. My drink was kind of like a hot toddy. It tasted of cinnamon and cloves and whiskey, with a roasted orange peel floating in it. We started with a cheese curd appetizer. This was anything but your classic idea of cheese curds. We were served a small cast iron skillet filled with dark gravy, hearty chunks of bacon, Dijon mustard and perfect nuggets of Wisconsin cheese. The table was also served a breadbasket, of a freshly baked loaf of bread. I can’t exactly remember what kind of bread it was, but if my memory serves me correctly, it was some soft of seeded loaf, and we used it to sop up all the extra gravy in the pan. Next came our main courses. My boyfriend got a steak with sautéed baby potatoes and mushrooms. It was served on a slate board, and was garnished with dandelion sprouts. At first, I was skeptical of this steak, seeing as it was around $50, but one bite proved me wrong. It was so tender and bursting with flavor. I remember we both laughed that they gave him a steak knife, because we could literally cut through it with a fork. I ordered the chicken entrée, which was an on the bone brined thigh served over a bed of faro and covered with gravy and sautéed chanterelles. I never knew chicken could be that tender, and I almost had to check if it was raw, because of the silky texture. I had never had faro before, but it was instantly one of my favorite grains. For dessert, we shared a slice of gâteau chocolat, which was very rich and smooth. It was the kind of cake that sticks to the roof of your mouth from being so fudgy.

Even though we had the $100 gift card, we wanted to full experience and ended up playing an extra $30 or so. I would love to go back, maybe for some special occasion, because the freshness of the ingredients, the complexity of the flavors, and the restaurant ambiance made it one of the best meals I have ever had.

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