The TriBeCa restaurant City Hall has been quietly turning out reliable food for just over a decade. In the Times, Ruth Reichl awarded two stars in January 1999. It’s located in a gorgeous landmarked 1863 cast iron building not far from the real City Hall. The renovation—a wide, comfortable room decorated with life-size vintage photos—is still fresh and elegant.
You don’t hear much about City Hall. The restaurant doesn’t get its name in the press. The menu seems to offer the same “steakhouse-plus” cuisine it die when Reichl reviewed it. My sense is that it attracts more of a lunch crowd, partly due to its location. On a recent Thursday evening, it was less than half full.
We started with a small tomato soup as amuse-bouche and moved onto the bone-in double-cut Delmonico for two ($82) with a side of hand-cut fries ($9).
The beef was dry-aged prime, and tasted like it, but didn’t quite have the flavor intensity or the rich char of the better ribeyes in town.
Service was more friendly, and the ambiance more pleasant than most steakhouses. The deep wine list has won awards, and on a cursory glance looked well worth exploring. However, we weren’t in a wine mood, and did well by the respectable beer selection (two Saratogas, $7 each).
City Hall seems, in short, like a restaurant you can count on, but not one worth traveling for.
City Hall (131 Duane St. between Church & West Broadway, TriBeCa)