6Smith replaces Sunsets as Wayzata's premier lakeside dining experience

Taking a drive outside the city for a lakeside dining experience often comes as a much-needed reprieve from bustling city life. Sunsets, Wayzata's former premier eatery, left a void on the city's main strip when it closed a few months back. Fortunately for residents, it wasn't long before 6Smith opened its doors just a few blocks down the street, offering a similar mid- to high-range dining experience.

See also: Sunsets Wayzata to close

6Smith is located at the center of a larger building in Wayzata. Valet parking is available up front, but finding a spot wasn't difficult. The restaurant space is modern-feeling, with high ceilings and steel furnishings. There's a bar near the entrance, booths and high tops in the center, a number of sectioned-off dining rooms, a rooftop patio and bar, and a downstairs patio situated right along Lake Minnetonka. Even if you're seated indoors, you'll get a full view of the lake, thanks to the towering windows positioned on most sides of the restaurant.

This place isn't for everyone. The clientele is mostly a polo-clad boating crowd, and for the quality of its food, 6Smith's prices are high. But redemption comes in the form of an impressive happy hour, during which a variety of food and drinks are offered in the $4-6 range.

6Smith has lunch, dinner, and rooftop menus, the last of which is only offered during lunch hours. We stopped by for lunch and started with Erik the Red, one of six signature non-alcoholic drinks on the lunch menu that combines housemade ginger beer, charged water, spices, and citrus. The ginger beer had an impressive bite that paired well with the lemon and lime garnishes.

Next, we ordered two items off the happy hour menu -- the $4 calamari and $6 taleggio and crab grilled cheese with truffle oil. The calamari, garnished with carrots and cilantro, was the winning dish of the afternoon -- it maintained its distinctive chew without drifting into rubbery territory and was served with a sweet and salty Thai dipping sauce, which we applied generously. For $4, it was also the best deal.

The taleggio and crab grilled cheese was full of giant chunks of crab, but it was slightly bland. Though it sounded good on paper, it managed to be both overambitious and underwhelming.

Our last course was Keith's Kimchee Reuben, which was on par with the calamari, except for a watery side of coleslaw that was virtually inedible. The meat was tender and 6Smith's addition of kimchee was just ambitious enough to spice things up without going overboard.

For the Wayzata crowd, 6Smith will surely be a welcome addition, especially in the wake of Sunsets' closure. For the average Twin Cities resident, it's only worth the drive if you're looking for an upscale lakeside experience with hit-or-miss grub.

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