Smith & Mills + East Village Yacht Club

Restaurant and lounge unite-and underwhelm-at two downtown spots.



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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>2/5
Smith & Mills, 71 North Moore St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts (no phone). Subway: 1 to Franklin St. Daily 9am–4am. Average main course: $16.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>2/5
East Village Yacht Club, 42 E 1st St between First and Second Aves (212-777-5617). Subway: F, V to Lower East Side–Second Ave. Mon–Thu 5pm–2am; Fri, Sat 5pm–4am. Average main course: $18.
East Village Yacht Club
East Village Yacht Club

Photo: Talia Simhi

The same can’t be said for the drinks—standard cocktails (the expert mixology did not follow from Employees Only), 20 bottles of wine, four beers and some cordials—or the food, most of which is served cold. True, chef Julia Jaksic (Employees Only), can do only so much prep behind a bar, but eating here felt little better than having a friend whip up something while you sit on their sofa. A bowl of olives and cheese foolishly didn’t come with bread, though I enjoyed another of the five “relishes” (their word for snacks): sour-cream–slathered, paper-thin cucumber slices that melted on my tongue. Each of the five entrées are either a salad or a sandwich, with the exception of a cold roasted chicken with potato salad that reminded me of an airline meal. Get ambitious—a fishy, forgettable oyster pan roast—at your own risk.

The East Village Yacht Club has less going on architecturally—a white and navy-blue scheme blankets the duplex that housed Chez Es Saada, complete with nautical flags, painted seascapes and, oddly enough, the mildewy scent of a summer home—and a bit more from a dining perspective, in that most of the short clambake menu is actually served hot.

Otherwise, there’s little to recommend. Owner Andy King is a party planner, yet the wine and booze selection is pedestrian. Chef Mark Grieco’s lobster roll, to its credit, is filler-free—basically tail meat only—but it tasted like it spent too long in the refrigerator. Such aftertaste is masked in the okay lobster casserole, a poor man’s Thermidor, with a neutral white-wine cream sauce that could use the mustard and cheese of the original. Cod baked in parchment had only parsley and summer vegetables to infuse flavor, resulting in a neutral, slightly sour taste. Grieco also offers a handful of bar-food options, such as minicheeseburgers, made too sweet with caramelized onions, overpriced at $10 for a pair.

That I wouldn’t eat at either place again isn’t surprising. But I’m not tempted to go back just for drinks, either. Smith & Mills has the coolness quotient down, but lacks the infectious cocktail culture of Employees Only that makes braving the poseur scene worthwhile. And though East Village Yacht Club attempts to channel my inner sailor, neither does much to make 2007 a summer to remember.

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