Thursday, January 12, 2012

Smalls Food & Spirits Opening January 12th in Elizabeth!

I was fortunate to be invited to the friends and family preview night at Smalls Food & Spirits.  Smalls is located at 1609 Elizabeth Ave – right next to the Visualite Theatre.  As a warning, they don’t have significant signage outside, so it was a bit tough to spot.

The interior is modern with pop art, interesting light fixtures and electronic menus behind the bar displaying the specialty cocktail and local craft beer offerings.  The feel is warm and intimate – I counted seating for about 80 people, including the bar area.  

The menu is exciting, offering a variety of small plates, sliders, soups/salads and entrees.  I immediately spotted pork belly and a dish involving a poached egg, so I was aroused!  The menu also offers good versatility – you could do a full meal here, or you could stop in for drinks and share small plates at the bar.  Foodies will appreciate that everything is made fresh in-house (pasta, bread, hand-ground beef, etc.) – as it should be!  I can definitely see the talented Chef Zack Gadberry’s influence on the menu (the Food Babies still get emotional when we think about this meal at his former restaurant). 

The Menu
A friend and I bellied up to the bar and tried a (gluttonous) sampling of the menu:

Molasses Lacquered Pork Belly with Spicy Ginger Napa Cabbage Slaw
Well prepared, well seasoned...yum!

Crab Cake Sliders on Old Bay Jalapeno Biscuit with Peppadew Remoulade

Warm Asparagus Salad with Bacon, Root Vegetable Puree and Poached Egg
Despite the unctuous runny egg, this was my least favorite dish of the night...flavors just didn't work for me

Braised Beef Short Rib with Parmesan and Bourbon Creamed Corn and Whipped Garlic and Chili Yukon Gold Potatoes
Very nice - the corn rocked my universe

Crispy Chicken with Thyme Waffle and Salted Caramel Butter - aka Chicken 'n Waffles
A bit hard to eat while maintaining my dignity, but very tasty!

Overall, the food was very good (particularly for a soft opening night) and the service was warm and friendly.  I will definitely be back. 

Smalls will be open at 11:30am every day and will close at 10:00pm Sunday – Tuesday.  They will have late-night hours Wednesday - Saturday (open until 2AM), transitioning into a lounge with a DJ or live music in the evening. Check it out!

- Brianna

Smalls on Urbanspoon


  1. We must have been sitting right beside each other, and I didn't even know it. In fact, I think that's my wine and water in the background of the Short Rib picture.

    Sorry we didn't do formal introductions!

  2. Hi Tricia - that is too funny. I was wondering who was drinking the vino...I was having beer! Hope you enjoyed Smalls - we definitely did.

    - Brianna

  3. Ha! I was so full from the food and the beer I'd already had, I didn't have room for another. So, I had a glass of wine instead. Let's make sure to chat next time!