Hanna Raskin says the few Germanic items at Szmania's pales next to the newly overhauled steakhouse menu, "a bill of fare worthy of a red-meat temple." Owner Ludger Szmania recently "scrapped the bric-a-brac menu of continental bistro dishes" for steaks with a neighborhood feel:
The template for the revised Szmania's comes from a different stencil set than the one used by a raft of nationally syndicated steakhouses. The restaurant isn't hung up on transfusing its guests with Mad Men–era glamour: There's no shame here in not putting a meal on an expense account, or skipping cigars after dinner. Szmania's homey dining room plays to a comfortably multigenerational crowd, which seems to drink more soda and milk than martinis and cabernet.
Each cut of corn-fed beef is "seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic, onion, thyme, and rosemary, a precisely engineered blend that catapults the beef from superior to superb. While the kitchen was sometimes wobbly on temperatures, its tendency to slightly undercook is justified by the meat's high quality."
Her gripes: "Service can be frustratingly inept;" and the restaurant "doesn't pretend to care deeply about its produce." Raskin says that "tired leaves of lettuce" are a recurring theme. "Szmania's reserves the whole of its vegetable prowess for potatoes." [Seattle Weekly]
It's BJC's turn at RN74, a restaurant she says "can't help but feel airlifted." She finds service "can vary in ways that might make Michael Mina unhappy." Tableside flourishes "are a Mina trademark, and for these prices, they should be very flourishy." Her most excellent observation: "The servers wear sneakers and button-downs—so if the shirt happens to be plaid, they could work a shift at Skillet Diner and then just come on down the hill." [Stranger]