City Hall, NYC

City Hall

Like most pre-war buildings in Tribeca, City Hall restaurant used to be a warehouse, the Lester Pinkus Shoe Corporation to be precise. The cast-iron building has stood on Duane Street since 1863 and has been restored to a modern restaurant, while still incorporating its original features. The original cast-iron columns are there, and the interior boasts 20 foot high ceilings. Black and white photos of early 1900s New York City adorn the walls. Spacious boots and tables carved from solid Danish pear wood exude comfort and elegance. The outdoor patio, from which you can almost see City Hall itself is a perfect spot for al fresco dining and people watching on a warm summer night.
The chef, Henry Archer Meer, was born and raised in New York City. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America in the traditional French technique and for years worked for French restaurants, Lutece and La Cote Basque. But when he opened his own restaurant in 1998, he chose to instead pay homage to his hometown and focus on the classic New York dining experience. You can tell he knows each borough and its history and tries to incorporate it into his dishes. The Calves Liver, for instance, traditionally served with sautéed onions, is also offered with guacamole, which is how the dish was served in the Lower East Side at the turn of the last century. Instead of bread, the server brought out a platter of pickled vegetables, which is also a common practice in New York Jewish Delis, such as Sammy’s.
Jen and I took a friend who had just moved to New York to dinner at City Hall. We sat outside, enjoying the warm summer breeze and shared all our dishes. I loved the food and was surprised actually that the restaurant was not busier.
Vegetable Snacks
I love anything pickled and these don’t fill you up like bread does, so I’m a fan

Amuse Bouche – Split Pea Soup with a Pretzel Stick
Savory, but not too heavy for a warm summer evening
Oysters – Malpeque and Royal Miyagi
Love love love fresh oysters
Calves Liver “Milk Fed”  with Guacamole and Grilled Colossal Shrimp
We ordered the unorthodox guacamole version of this dish, versus the sautéed onions version and it was great. I think next time I’ll get the onions, but I was glad to try something different. Grilled colossal shrimp was colossal in size and flavor.
Split Whole Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Caramelized Shallots
One of the best preparations of chicken I’ve had in a while, but the photo doesn’t do it justice. Sorry!
Wild Mushrooms
I love mushrooms, but these were a bit underwhelming
One Response to “City Hall, NYC”
  1. I haven’t had the chance to visit City Hall and I’ve lived in the tri-state area all my life. Thanks for such a wonderful review of this restaurant. I definitely have to make it there.

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