Holly Smith's resume is very impressive, including a James Beard award.
Nevertheless, it's a restaurant this is a restaurant we have been going to for since 2007.
The dining room is shockingly intimate, and the open kitchen where the one-time iron chef candidate was cooking furiously can be viewed from pretty much every seat, save for the downstairs area which I'm told is usually reserved for larger parties. And the food is outstanding, and extremely inventive. A truly unique bite not to be missed is the King Crab w/ green apple sorbetto along with crab butter powder. The savory and sweet and chilled flavors combined to make what was unquestionably one of the greatest dishes I've had in recent memory. The incredibly simple pear salad was also very elegant - thinly sliced pairs paired w/ pin nuts, freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano, and an incredibly fragrant white truffle vinaigrette. And of course the freshly made homemade pastas and entrees were also outstanding. We opted for the maltagliati with lamb and ricotta and the braised rabbit. The former was such a delicate dish despite its normally heavy ingredients, and the latter was coupled w/ a chickpea crepe that came w/ thinly cut strips of pancetta and porcinis that really blew me away.
Add housemade bread and crackers, an incredibly attentive wait-staff, and an extensive wine list (about 95% Italian), and I guess there's no surprise that this restaurant racks up the awards on an annual basis. If there's ever an excuse to go over the eastside, this is it.