After a day spent walking around downtown Boston, Dave and I headed towards Copley and decided to get an early dinner at City Table, inside the Lenox Hotel. City Table provided the food for the Sassoon Salon event in June. I wasn’t thrilled with the food at the event, but we received City Table gift cards, so I took advantage of the opportunity to see the restaurant itself.
Our meal was okay, but I was not thrilled. After we ordered, they brought rolls and a dish of butter to the table. The rolls were bland and doughy and could have come from a refrigerated roll. We started off with the gazpacho. I expect gazpacho to be a puree of all raw, fresh vegetables. In my opinion, there is no place in gazpacho for tomato that is canned or cooked. This soup tasted like it had a canned tomato base. This was unfortunate because the rest of the vegetables tasted fresh and had a nice texture. The canned tomato base really took away from the overall quality.
Dave’s entree was the best of what we ordered. He got the codfish BLT. It included a massive piece of fish which was nicely fried, crispy on the outside and very moist on the inside. It was topped with thick strips of bacon and a seasoned mayonnaise whose creaminess provided a textural contrast to the crispy bacon and fish and helped to bind the sandwich. If you like fried fish, and especially fried fish with bacon, this sandwich would probably satisfy you.
I got the heirloom tomato and housemade burrata with shaved fennel and crushed pistachios. The burrata was good. Not as good as Fiore di Nonno’s. The filling was somewhat lacking, but definitely more than passable. Making it is not a simple task so I admire City Table for taking it on.
I was disappointed in the presentation. I’m not saying it was not pretty, but anyone can alternate slices of mozzarella and tomato and produce at least a mildly attractive plate. I expect more at a restaurant. I don’t want to be presented with quartered tomatoes that I have to cut into bite-sized pieces. The crushed pistachios would have been a nice addition, except that they were scattered in a wide ring around the plate along with a very generous sprinkling, or maybe pouring, of course sea salt. Sea salt is a wonderful addition but it needs to be used sparingly. If it is being used solely for aesthetic purposes, keep it far enough from the food. If it is actually there to enhance the food, be conservative with the amount that you add. In cutting the chunks of tomatoes, I got one bite that picked up way too much salt and I spent the rest of the time carefully cutting the tomato in the center of the plate so as to avoid the salt mine.
Our meal was fine, but I certainly have no desire to return to City Table. The menu descriptions were enticing, but each time, the reality fell short of my expectations. If you do go, the simple, sometimes greasier, options like sandwiches, burgers, and fries, seem to be the best bet. This appears to be the area where they are most comfortable and where they succeed. I appreciate that they are attempting more sophisticated dishes (their whipped feta, which I have enjoyed at other restaurants, was also disappointing), but unfortunately they are falling short somewhat in the execution. There is a lot of potential here though and I have faith that they could improve on these dishes.
61 Exeter St