Went to smallwares on 3/13, finally have a minute to put up some of the photos.
Place is nice enough, lots of window/light.
This was the menu that night:
We started with the scallop sashimi:
This was really delicious. Maybe even my fave of the night. Creamy, rich, delicate slices of scallop with a tangy miso sauce and the crunch of the crispies with a little fresh green hit of sprouts...very, very nice.
The Kale Salad was good too. Large serving, crisp/tart/sweet apples with a nutty brittle and sesame accent:
The tempura squash was another delicious dish. Very light batter, crisp, with the tang/funk of fish sauce and freshness of mint and sweet/salty/crunchy little bits of candied bacon:
The tempura is served atop the sauce, so you can mix it up, but it mostly stays crispy. It's so good, that it went fast...so it never got soggy anyway. ;o)
This is the kombu-cured salmon with labne, apple, and meyer lemon:
IMO, it was the least exciting and delicious dish of the night. I didn't really taste anything on the salmon, it was like a flavorless gravlax. The tiny dollops of labne were lost inside the salmon, and the shallot/onion and apple kind of overpowered everything. I didn't taste any meyer lemon, and though the texture of the "dirt" (not really sure what it was, I have since forgotten, if I ever knew) was interesting, this dish just didn't do it for me. To be fair, texturally, this dish shined - firm cured fatty fish, crisp and juicy apple and onion, crunchy and dry "dirt, creamy labne...but otherwise, meh.
We got a freebie of the mapo dofu, which I just tasted. The custard was creamy and the pork topping was appropriately tangy and salty - it was nice for what it was, but it isn't really my thing. If it is your thing, you should order it, because it is a very good version:
Last dish was the oxtail curry:
They were in a nice coconut milk curry sauce with crispy plantain chips and came with a side of a spicy habanero sauce...the side of rice was $1 extra. It was the most expensive dish on the menu at $16 and not that small a plate. I thought it was absolutely delicious, rich and succulent meat (yes, I did pick up the bones and suck them dry, what of it? ;o) in a great sauce, and that habanero sauce on the side was great - hot, but great in that wonderful fruity/hot way habaneros have.
This was way too much food for 2 people, but we got caught up in ordering new things that sounded good...so our $70+ bill (with a soda and 2 cocktails) is higher than most would incur for 2, unless you drink more. The food alone was $65-70.
I like Smallwares. I have a hard time not comparing it to Wafu, which I like better, but they are not the same. It is pricy for the neighborhood, and I hope they can make a go of it there, because they are doing some very interesting stuff and I definitely want to go back. They have some nice cocktails, and some sake and wine and beer choices. The bar menu is set up by flavor profile: funky, fruity, fizzy, etc. And it appears that they are going to open a proper bar space next door. Bathroom is not connected to the restaurant indoors, you have to go outside and then back in to use a common bathroom that is shared with the building, but it might be conected when the bar space is open...not sure. Bar is going to be called "barwares."
So there ya go. I'd be interested to hear what others have thought of it.
And yes, these pics were taken with my new Canon SX230. I did not re-touch them or process them in any way.