Just got back from Town Hall for a Thursday night dinner with a friend. Overall, I'm disappointed. Food was only so-so, and definitely not worth the money.
We opted for 5 appetizers instead of any entrees, and in order of yumminess:
1) Salad with beets, goat cheese, frissee and champagne vinegrette: beets were perfectly cooked and very sweet, goat cheese was nicely herbed, slightly melty with a crisp crust, and dressing was nicely balanced.
2) Crab cake: Yes, it was one small 2.5" one for about $15! But it was mostly crab meat, not filling, well seasoned, and came with a decent grapefruit and fennel mini-salad/garnish.
3) BBQ Shrimp on toast: Big juicy shrimp, and very good with a touch of the sauce but the platter was swimming in the sauce which in that quantity was overwhelming.
4) Meatballs on mashed potatoes: These were really nothing special in flavor, and in fact were a bit on the tough/gristly side, which is a special feat since veal is supposed to be a tender meat to begin with! the potatoes and gravy were tasty.
5) Ham with apple begneits and cinammon creme fraiche: Begneits were greasy and soggy, and the ham would have been good but had extra, and excessive salt sprinkled on top. a clever idea ruined by poor implementation.
Lovely ambiance and decor. Service was a little slow but friendly.
I went to Town hall with my wife a few months ago and our meal was good but not spectacular. If we are in the area around dinner time again we would consider it (I work close by) but I wouldn't call it a destination restaurant. The room is incredibly loud so don't expect a romantic meal if you're there on a date, in fact even if you are part of a large party you'll have a hard time talking to people other than the person sitting next to you.
Town Hall is intense.
My group ordered 5 aps--the fondue, which was more like a chowder than anything; the veal meatballs, five of them in the bowl, fine but not spectacular; the beignets with ham, the ham shaved thin, a dab of cinnamon creme fraiche under the three beignets making the three things together taste like breakfast (it would be amazing to have that in the morning after a long night out); the barbecued shrimp on toast, which was actually quite good; and the poached egg on toast with jalapeno cream, which was strange: the piece of toast wasn't that toasted, and it tasted exactly like the bread that was on the table. Everything was highly seasoned, just right for two or three bites.
The entree, however, was also seasoned to the appetizer level. Rabbit etoufee was served on a raft of crispy eggplant--dark, roux-tasting highly seasoned rabbit on fried eggplant. An appetizer-sized portion would have been just fine, the first few mouthfuls extraordinary, but then things just became murky and salty. It was too much. The meat was also not deboned properly--I kept ending up with little bones in my mouoth. The brussels sprouts that came with it were cold.
A friend had the fried chicken. When asked how it was, he shrugged. He then mentioned Popeye's.
Two friends liked the duck.
For dessert, the butterscotch pot de creme. Five of us couldn't finish it. But it was extraordinary, maybe the best thing I had that night.
Town Hall is fine. The service was quick and friendly--someone at our table dropped his fork, and moments after the sound of metal hitting the floor rang out a runner was at his side with a selection of eating utensils. But the food is too salty, becoming murky quickly, the ingredients and the dishes all sort of blending into each other in a weird way. It's nice to have things like rabbit on the menu, and it was probably raised very well--free range, organic, what have you--but it could have been anything in that etoufee, and it wouldn't have really mattered, farm-raised or not. It just doesn't taste clean and fresh, and there's not enough acidity.
It's a personal thing, I suppose, but my dinner companions agreed that Town Hall wasn't quite all there. It was, in the end, a lot of hype and a lot of good design. It's a fun place, it was a good night, it's noisy but friendly and good natured. But the food is lacking.
I was very disappointed in my outing to Town Hall on Friday, 10-20-06. The room is very noisy. The service was good. The food was not very good. I had short ribs as my entree and they were not cooked enough and very tough. The sauce was too salty. It was inedible and I had to send it back. A friend ordered the duck and it was over sauced and not well plated. The duck itself was good but the sides and sauce were not. For dessert we ordered a dried cherry torte. It was almost inedible. The cherries were maserated in something that made them almoost taste like gasoline. I would not recommend this restaurant as there are so many other better restaurants in the same area and price range. Too bad!
I was at Town Hall last night, Sunday, and the restaurant was rather crowded for a Sunday. Everyone at the table raved about their favorites - cornbread, fondue and the butterscotch pudding.
We started off with a few appetizers to share:
- Corn bread - not good and I don't know why we paid $6 for it. The corn bread comes in a mold with 6 little corn designs. It was rich, but I think I prefer the toasted corn bread with pepper jelly at Savor in Noe Valley.
- Fondue - I think this was my favorite dish of the night. We had a little fondue pot filled with cambozola (I think) and it tasted like a creamy, fatty fondue. Very good. It was served with broccolini, about 4 slices of sausages and pickled potatoes. The pickled potatoes were delicious. They could have been more generous with the items used for dipping.
- Veal Meatballs - these were also a favorite of the table. There were 6 generous meatballs served with mashed potatoes and a nice gravy.
As an entree I ordered the BBQ Shrimp on Garlic Toast since this seems to be a standard on the menu. It was overly salty and very rich. I got over it after a few bites and just felt sick after. The sauce is made with Worchestershire and perhaps they forgot that they did not need to add too much salt. I didn't complain since it was a birthday celebration and I didn't want to ruin the fun.
The butterscotch pudding was intensely rich. Our table of 5 shared it and I don't think we managed to finish it.
The service was fine, but there was a long wait between our appetizers and entrees. I don't think I will rush to Town Hall again any time soon since I think I can find better food elsewhere for the same price - like Range.
I've been there a few times for lunch, most recently today with five co-workers (a somewhat celebratory lunch for one person). My experience has been the same every time. The food is good, the room is very noisy, and the service is sub-par.
We had a bit of a wait for the waiter to come take our order (not too long, though). We gave our orders. After 10 or 15 minutes the waiter came back and said he want to confirm what we'd ordered. He had at least one order wrong. Then he disappeared again, after we asked for the two knives that were missing from the place settings.
To make a long story short, the first course took a long time to arrive. The second course took a very long time to arrive. (We noticed before the second course arrived that 45 minutes had already passed, a long time at a weekday lunch.) Finally a different server brought our second courses, while one of us was away from the table. When the diner returned, she remarked that her lobster roll was supposed to come with chips. We then tried for quite some time to flag down our waiter (who had never brought the knives, by the way). He finally came by and she asked for the chips. He said "You didn't get them?" "No." "Are you sure you didn't get them?" Did he really think she would forget she'd eaten them? Or lie about it?
Another 15 minutes went by, during which we all finished eating. We flagged him down again and he said "Oh, the kitchen ran out of chips. They could give you some french fries." She said thanks, but no.
He didn't offer us dessert or coffee (and we needed to get back anyway) before he brought the bill. We left, an hour and 45 minutes later.
I don't think he was egregiously bad, as it seemed that everyone in the place was experiencing the same service. And he did apologize when he brought the bill. Perhaps the kitchen is overwhelmed, though it would have been nice if he'd come by after we were served to ask if we needed anything (knife, missing chips). They didn't miss adding a 15 service charge to our bill, though we only had six people.
This has been the type of experience I've had there, but perhaps it's different at dinner. I remain underwhelmed by the place.
I was there a few weeks ago too and we had a great meal. I had the veal meatballs and the mushroom risotto, which were both very good. My mother-in-law had the squash blossoms appetizer and she's still talking about it to this day. Unfortunately, I don't remember what my hubby and father-in-law had, but they also really liked their meals.
I don't know if they still do it but i loved the biscuits with smithfield ham, an appetizer.
I disagree about the dessert though. that butterscotch pudding is too large and it tastes fake, like Angel Delight, but i know many people who love it, its not my thing, much much prefer zuni's wondrous caramel pot de creme