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Restaurants & Bars 4

Disappointing City Hall Dinner

dougloftus | Jan 24, 2008 04:38 AM

I've had lunch at City Hall a few times over the last 18 months and always thought the restaurant to be an exciting place to take co-workers or clients. My Partner and I went to dinner last evening as part of NYC Restaurant Week.

The dinner experience was mediocre at best when compared to the lunches I have had. The main dining room table we were placed at was immediately next to the lobby doors and we experienced a draft each and every time the front door of the restaurant was opened. After numerous discussions with the host, she finally agreed to close the doors to the main dining room. (We were offered to be seated in the lounge, which turned out to be colder and louder upon investigation)

After being seated, we were presented with menus. We were not greeted nor did our server introduce himself. The menus were placed at the corner of the table before the server walked away. No description of specials, no offer of drinks, wine or even water. He just walked away.

We knew that we would most likely order from the Restaurant Week menu, which we did. Both of our appetizers were disappointing. My French Green Lentil soup was only slightly better than diner quality. My partner's Warm Polenta Cake with truffles was indeed flavorful but by no means was it actually warm.

Our entrees improved slightly with a Daube of Lamb and Grilled Trout. Both were presented well and we enjoyed their taste.

Between entrees and desserts one of the kitchen staff emerged and proceeded to open the main dining room doors. I got up from the table and explained to him and who I assumed was the floor manager that we would like the door closed due to the draft. The staff member asked, "How can you be that cold?... Can I give you a hug?" I gave the manager a glance who immediately closed the doors again.

Dessert (a Meyer Lemon Tart) arrived and proved to disappoint more than the appetizers. The crusts of the small tarts were so thick that tying to cut them would do more than shatter them; ejecting crumbs within the radius of the table. The custard of the tart was far too sweet to be actual Meyer Lemon. All in all, the tart proved to be inedible.

It appears that City Hall reluctantly participated in NYC Restaurant week and did nothing to make that experience one that would cause the diner to want to return.

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