Recently, after a very long time, M and I went back to Smash Wine Bar in Wallingford since he had a hankering for truffle mac and cheese. We happened to hit it right before the end of happy hour – which is honestly the best way, right? So we ordered a lot of the small plates to share besides the mac and cheese – sliders, tater tots, on my insistence, a salad – and sat outside on a warm, early fall evening with our dog, Cami Lou.
Now I have to be honest one of the reasons we chose to go to Smash is because we knew they had outdoor seating and would allow us to sit with our dog, a difficult proposition in Seattle. You would think in a city that seems so very dog-centric that there would be more choices but sadly there are not. Not like most European cities where frequently the owner’s dogs are inside the restaurants, sometimes even begging from the patron – or just laying on them (I have actually had this experience in a small cafe in Paris). So us dog owners that actually do want to go out are happy to find the few dog friendly places there are during the short warm season. Luckily, Smash is just fine with having dog patrons at their outside tables.
The food at Smash is always lovely to look at, presented well, and tasty but frequently too heavy or just a little too complicated, which is a shame since I think they could really succeed if they just tweaked it a bit. The mac and cheese, the one thing my husband craves, orders, and is disappointed by, is just too soupy. The addition of the truffle oil making it even more liquid and oily – again a slight tweak here and there, the addition of a thickener, the use of shaved local truffles, and cutting back on the oil component would make this a fantastic dish. The tater tots are a fun do-it-yourself dish, with the various components – sour cream, bacon, chives – presented separately for you to mix and match and dip as you like, and are probably one of the best executed choices on the menu. The sliders are nice but could be amped up a bit with a sharper cheese, homemade sauce, or something else. I have yet to try the desserts at Smash but will have to go back, on another warm (ish) evening and let you know.