Bloggers be bloggin' about Smyth, the new cocktail den in Uptown. Whitney Filloon over at Eater says a lack of signage and an unmarked door can make the new bar difficult to find, but hunting down Smyth a challenge worth taking on. Smyth is intended to be reservations-only, but for now according to the City of Ate alum, walk-ins are welcomed.
Leslie Brenner calls the place wicked good, saying it was remarkable to feel so taken care of in a bar. She noted not more than 10 patrons inside Smyth, and four bartenders. Then she waxed on about a cocktail made by Michael Martensen himself with not one, but two Scotch whiskys.
Admittedly, my hands are shaking at the prospects of a bar that really brings something new to Dallas. The mixology scene has been widely celebrated here, but I've often found something about my drinking experiences just a touch off.
The Chesterfield, for instance, rose amidst similar fanfare but quickly withered after a chef change and then a management debacle that split the ownership in two. Even at its height the Chesterfield had issues with bad music and a crowded bar. Now, you can't even get a Sazerac there.
Despite a recent James Beard nomination I've had mostly lackluster experiences at Martensen's first endeavor, Cedars Social. My service at the southern Dallas bar has always been slow and inattentive, and the drinks I've ordered were out of balance or lacked character. I wonder if it's because despite multiple visits I've never had Martensen himself make me a cocktail.
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The same goes for Marquee whatever it's called these days. I'm certain Jason Kosmas makes an excellent drink. But during every visit I paid to the restaurant during a review, I always ended up with a cocktail shaken by one of his employees. And many were inconsistent.
So I hope Smyth stays small. I hope when the restaurant that shared space with the bar called The Establishment opens, Martensen stays behind the bar, flanked by Omar Yeefoon, another bartender personality with serious chops. But I'm skeptical for the long term.
If I had to place bets, I'd say the best time to check out Smyth at it most magical is right now. I think you'll experience a level of intimacy and attention to detail that latecomers could potentially miss out on.
Go. Tipple. Now. (And here's a hint to help you find it: 4513 Travis St.)