You can start with any one of a number of dressed-up, down-home favorites. What Oakley calls Florida Gulf Dip, a gratin of crabmeat, artichoke hearts, spinach, and garlic-flavored cream cheese, seems straight out of a Junior League cookbook--one of those dishes people secretly love but seldom admit to making. A bowl of spicy red beans and rice, offered as an appetizer, is delicious--and enough for a meal. The only disappointment has been fried green tomatoes, as tasteless out of season as their ripe, red counterparts.
As hard as it is to resist a dish called Swamp Thing, a mixture of seafood over greens in a mustard-based sauce, there's much else to explore on this menu. Shrimp Lafayette are fresh-tasting and nicely fried, served on a warm black-eyed-pea relish with portobello mushrooms and wilted spinach. Lemon Pepper Catfish, topped with stewed tomatoes and okra, is a treat, as are the macaroni and cheese and spicy greens that accompany it. Cajun Chicken Maque Choux was marred by soggy breading.
Homey desserts include a good peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream and a delicious chocolate Bayou Voodoo cake.
While B. Smith's Union Station location is a plus for the restaurant, the lack of valet parking is not. You can park in the Union Station parking facility, a long walk from the restaurant's door, or take the Metro.