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Manhattan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at City Hall Restaurant

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Thanksgiving at City Hall Restaurant

Krissywats | Nov 25, 2005 03:17 PM

I have to say we were a bit disappointed. They were having a $75 Prix Fixe with $25 wine pairing and we thought for sure it would be just as fantastic as it was when we visited for Thanksgiving in 2001.

Our reservation was at 2:30pm and I called the day before to say we might be a few minutes late because we were coming from a movie. The hostess made a note and said it would be no problem. We arrived at about 2:40 and were asked to have a seat in the bar. No problem. We each (three of us) got a drink (I had a really interesting Cranberry Bellini that tasted of thanksgiving spices) and it wasn't long before we were on the way to our table.

All meals started with Chestnut soup with a dollop of honeyed creme fraiche and sprinkle of dark chocolate. It was good. Not great, but good. It was a little bland, too sweet and not enough savory for my taste. I added a dash of table salt to the soup and liked it much better - a more savory feel to it to give contrast to the honey and other sweeter notes. My friend followed my lead and liked it better with more salt, as well (I typically don't salt at all in restaurants).

For salads: I ordered the onion tart with bleu cheese, roasted pear and watercress. My husband ordered the beet salad and our friend ordered the waldorf salad. Unfortunately they brought salads and plunked them onto the table before I was completely done with my soup. We also had to ask twice for the wine for this course and when they brought it, they brought the wine for the salad and the entree so that it would be there. Is that usual to have the wine for the next course waiting in front of the patrons?

My onion tart was fantastic. The crust was flaky and buttery and the onion and blue cheese were warm and gooey. The pear was a slight bit too firm and tasteless for my taste but that's just being picky, I suppose.

My husband enjoyed his beet salad but our friend with the waldorf salad was disappointed. I tried it as well and once again - very bland. The dressing seemed watery - the entire salad felt like taking a bite of a tasteless texture. Not terribly interesting.

My husband had just barely put his fork back on his salad plate when the dishes were cleared away and the entrees placed in front of us. Hubby ordered the Turkey with dressing, sweet potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. He was happy with all except the brussel sprouts and the dressing - but that is about his personal tastes (he hates onions) not the dish itself. The free range turkey was particularly well prepared. Flavorful, juicy and tender.

Our friend ordered the pot roast with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. He was in heaven. The pot roast was quite good and the potatoes were warm, soothing and tasty. The gravy was also very good: rich and smooth.

I ordered the halibut with swiss chard, mushrooms and crispy shallots. Again, just OK. The fish was bland-ish - nothing I couldn't do at home. The greens were good but again, nothing impressive, no interesting flavors - just swiss chard. I spent a lot of time picking off of the surrounding plates and eating bites of the yummy mashed potatoes we ordered as a side dish for the table.

Our dessert was pumpkin cheesecake which we all enjoyed. Good, not great. And again, we had to ask for the wine pairing twice - a sparkling muscat which I adored.

The service was sort of attentive - in the fact that they were always THERE. I wanted a Thanksgiving dinner that was laid back and unhurried like we had at this same restaurant 4 years ago. Instead we felt like they were over-reaching their abilities (the place was packed, whereas when we visited in 2001 - just after 9/11, we were the only people in the restaurant so perhaps we had a false impression of the service on a busy holiday). It was one of those situations where many people stop at our table and ask us the same questions "Would you like something to drink?" from the person that seated us, then a manager, AND then again the same question from our server. Yet, when we needed something, we had to ask several times to several different people (took asking twice to get more roles).

Everyone was very kind and there was no rudeness whatsoever, but unfortunately we never quite felt at ease and the food was hit and miss.

I'll visit them again for dinner and perhaps some time rent out their gorgeous downstairs bar for a party but I'll never visit for another holiday.

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