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City Hall - should I waste a free dinner there?

princeofpork Jul 26, 2011 11:18 AM

Getting taken out to diner by some vendors in town. They booked City Hall as it is close to the office. Should I encourage them to change?

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City Hall
131 Duane St., New York, NY 10013

  1. BrookBoy Jul 27, 2011 10:38 AM

    Allow me to disagree with the previous posters. There not only isn't anything wrong with City Hall, there is a lot right with it.

    Ambiance: They have an attractive dining room with spacious seating, very comfortable. If you ask for a booth, you undoubtedly will get one.

    Food: As with all restaurants, some selections are better than others, but the food at City Hall can be good to excellent. From the oysters to the fish of the day, I have always found their seafood to be excellent. I grant that it's hard to beat a dedicated steakhouse when it comes to steak, but both the hanger steak and the steak au poivre are great choices. They pay close attention to the side dishes; you can make a meal of those alone. And some rate their hamburger among the city's best.

    Wine: CH (interesting monogram) has a large and varied wine list. It could be cheaper, but you're being comped.

    Service: Never had a problem with service. It has always been attentive without being overbearing.

    History: CH opened I believe in 1998, and I have been going there since the beginning. The chef-owner, Henry Meer, opened the restaurant then and is still in attendance almost every day. He pays attention to the details on a daily basis.

    I also have been to Blau Gans, which I like a lot (especially their selection of Gruner Veltliners), but I don't think of it in the same league as City Hall. I've also been to Wolfgang's, and I thought the meal was fine, but I'm not crazy about the frenzied, packed-in ambiance and spotty service. But if it is steak you want and the location is important, you should consider Wolfgang's.

    But my first choice would be City Hall, in a heartbeat.

    Enjoy your meal, wherever you end up...

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    City Hall
    131 Duane St., New York, NY 10013

    3 Replies
    1. re: BrookBoy
      princeofpork Jul 28, 2011 06:12 AM

      Went here last night. Few comments;

      Very nice atmosphere and a gorgeous hostess.
      Excellent service without being overbearing
      Had the clams and oysters for an app and both were excellent
      I had the rack of lamb which was tasty but difficult to seperate the individual pieces. Would have like if the kitchen performed that task for me. Can with 2 sauces BBQ and Dijon. The dijon was much better the BBQ too sweet.
      Side was 2 huge onion rings which were nothing special.
      Cauliflower side was also just OK.
      Complete wine list but too few bottles under $75
      Henry was constantly walking the dining room and talking to all the tables.
      $200 for 2 of us all in.
      I would not run back but would not be dissapointed if someone wanted to take me there.

      1. re: BrookBoy
        b
        Bkeats Jul 28, 2011 11:23 AM

        Nothing really wrong with CH, but nothing really great about it either. I've been several times, but it never been my first choice in the area. As I mentioned before, their raw bar selections are quite good and its nice to go there for a cocktail and oysters. That said, my wife was there two days ago to meet a friend for drinks and app at the bar and she said they basically had to tackle the waiter to get his attention to order some food.

        1. re: Bkeats
          princeofpork Jul 28, 2011 12:15 PM

          If she was at the bar why did she need a waiter? The bartender should be taking their orders.

      2. b
        Bkeats Jul 27, 2011 08:11 AM

        I have not been to Blaue Gans in a while but I think they have lost something since they first opened. City Hall is ok. IMO the best thing they have is the steak, but for that why not go to Wolfgang's instead? There are a lot of choices in Tribeca. City Hall was a place to get a cocktail and oysters rather than dinner.

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        Wolfgang's
        409 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

        6 Replies
        1. re: Bkeats
          g
          gutsofsteel Jul 27, 2011 08:16 AM

          I was at Blaue Gans fairly recently and a had a good meal, service was quite pleasant. What do you think they have "lost" since they first opened?

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          Blaue Gans
          139 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: gutsofsteel
            b
            Bkeats Jul 27, 2011 08:25 AM

            Used to go much more often when I worked downtown. Last time we were there was in the fall. Had the schnitzel. It was small and overcooked. Not at all good. There used to be a great sommelier who was really helpful going over unfamiliar wines. Last time got no guidance, just that everything was good. Service was fine overall, but it feels like they were on autopilot.

            1. re: Bkeats
              s
              Sneakeater Jul 27, 2011 09:48 AM

              To the extent anyone cares, I feel the same way.

              (Also, if anyone cares, I'd be happy to let someone take me to City Hall.)

              1. re: Sneakeater
                princeofpork Jul 27, 2011 10:13 AM

                Good attitude. I am going and will likey try the Pat Lefrieda burger as I have not been to Minetta Tavern. Add some raw bar and its shaping up to be a good meal.

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                Minetta Tavern
                113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: princeofpork
                  g
                  gutsofsteel Jul 28, 2011 07:46 AM

                  Pat Lafrieda is simply a meat dealer. The company makes different blends of types of meat for different customers. The burger at City Hall may not be anything like the burger at Minetta Tavern.

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                  Minetta Tavern
                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                  1. re: gutsofsteel
                    princeofpork Jul 28, 2011 08:21 AM

                    The one at CH is a combo of brisket and short rib. I should have got that one.

        2. g
          gutsofsteel Jul 27, 2011 06:49 AM

          Change it to Blaue Gans - same block.

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          Blaue Gans
          139 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

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