Sunday, April 28, 2013

Foodie Fare "Smitty's Cinema" by Brian Rounds

As the columnist who writes the Foodie Fare column of our community’s newspaper, I also get to write about our food culture and in Windham and Raymond this means restaurants. In our communities we are lucky to have a diverse base of restaurants from chain restaurants to small family owned breakfast and lunch eateries; all of which shine in their own special way.

In December, I learned that Smitty’s Cinema was coming back to town.  My excitement was hard to contain – seven movie theaters within one restaurant, full kitchen and all. 

As a foodie, I have to admit that I love all food: high-end hoity-toity food, down home food, comfort food, and, yes, pub food.  I tend to order the same thing at every pub – buffalo wings, a sandwich of some kind (usually a burger) and some fries.  I sometimes enjoy an Angry Orchard when delving into the world of pub food, but I typically keep things on the soft drink end of the spectrum – usually a Diet Pepsi. 

My Smitty’s experience that I am going to share with you transpired on Saturday night.  I decided to see Evil Dead as I am an avid horror movie fan. I am greeted warmly by a young man at the ticket counter where I grab my ticket and menu and wander down the hallway to theater five. Inside I find comfy leather chairs and a bunch of different seating options from bar style to family style. I take a moment to look through the menu and soon enough my server, Jennifer, is at my side greeting me with a smile. As I am ordering, she is entering my order directly into her handheld device which links up directly to the kitchen.  Once my order is in, I sit back and enjoy the pre-movie programming. 

My appetizer came out of the kitchen pretty quickly.  The person who brought my food, a food runner, was more than helpful when dropping off my food.  My starter was their “Man on Fire Tenders”.  The chicken was moist and cooked to perfection and the buffalo sauce was not over powering. I made it a point to even try the celery sticks because that’s a true sign of a good head in the kitchen – if the celery on the side is fresh and crispy, this means the cooks are on top of what is coming out of the kitchen. My celery was cool, crispy, and fresh.

Soon enough, another food runner was at my side with my main course – a Philly Cheese Steak.  I happen to be allergic to bell peppers and was thrilled that I could order this without peppers. My sandwich was built on a soft sub roll warmed through and piled high with shaved steak, grilled onions and mushrooms, and American cheese – it was fantastic. Probably the best Philly Cheese Steak I’ve ever had. I upgraded my fries to waffle fries. The extra cost was well worth it.  The fries were crispy, well seasoned and hot. The movie began.

About twenty minutes into my movie, I stood my menu up. This was my signal to my server that I wanted something else. I asked for a refill on my soda and small popcorn.  Remember my first column? I am a popcorn snob. Smitty’s popcorn was the best movie theater popcorn I have had since I was a kid.  The texture and seasoning was perfect. Their melted butter topping even tastes better than at other theaters. 

Half-way through my movie, I decided I wanted something sweet to cut the effect of the salt from the popcorn.  My menu went up and my server appeared at my side. I chose the raspberry cheesecake. This was definitely not a mistake. The cheesecake was pretty decent cheesecake, but what made it was the fresh-tasting raspberry sauce.  I probably could’ve just asked for a bowl of this sauce and a spoon and would’ve been happy the entire night. The cheesecake complimented the raspberry sauce well.  There were even two dollops of fresh whipped cream.

Smitty’s is a package deal - dinner and a movie. The staff there is friendly, the food is great, and the atmosphere is comfortable.  The addition of digital projection and audio systems is a nice perk, too. Remember when you go, sit back, relax and enjoy your food – there’s no reason to scarf down your meal so that you can catch the movie now that dinner is served in the theater. They also have a great list of beers and cocktails that I have yet to try.

Things I recommend:

Man on Fire Tenders
Benchwarmer Potato Skins

The Incredible Hulk Burger
Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sub
King Kong Ribs

Raspberry Cheesecake
Any Given Brownie Sundae


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