Wednesday, March 7, 2012

City Hall - The Restaurant

Planning a nice evening with friends at a local whisky tasting in the Downtown area, we decided it would be great to stay in the vicinity for dinner after the tasting. After tossing around some suggestions, we chose a restaurant we had never been to before. Loving the name, and having heard positive comments about the place, we reserved for dinner at City Hall - The Restaurant, located at 2004 Biscayne Boulevard. City Hall is owned by a well known name in the restaurant industry - Steven Haas. The two-story, art deco space, located five blocks north of Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts,  is as great a place to conduct a business meeting, as it is to host a party in a booming part of town. It is beautiful inside, featuring murals created by Andrew Reid and local artist, Michelle Rojas, and boasting an impressive second story overlooking the first floor. Complementing the trendy ambiance, are the floor to ceiling windows, the lacquered concrete floors, and the contemporary, fresh decor. The menu of American comfort food is very original, with words like "Opening Statements" to refer to the appetizers, "Primary Decisions" for the entrees and "Breaking the Law" for desserts. I felt a lot of creativity went into the formation of City Hall - The Restaurant, and I was truly able to see Steven Haas's signature style from the moment we stepped in.

Guava Mojito
Jumbo Lump Crab Salad
Although we had already had a few drinks at the tasting, the waiter enticed me into ordering their special drink of the evening - a Guava Mojito. I am very glad he did! It was an amazingly refreshing take on a classic drink. After a few majestic sips, and some bites of their soft warm bread, with sweet, pecan butter,  I decided to order an Opening Statement.  Even though I saw a Crispy Calamari and a Tuna Tartar on the menu that sounded extremely appetizing, I wanted to try something different; so I ordered the Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Imperial. This is where we had a "Minor Technicality", (if I may say, in following the whole legal lingo).  I continued sipping my delicious concoction, and when my appetizer arrived, I noticed it looked different than I had expected. Instead of the appetizer we ordered, the waiter actually brought us the  Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Salad. To be perfectly honest, while I noticed it was a bit different than what I read on the menu, and my first instinct was to yell "I object your honor",  I really didn't realize that it was a whole different dish until later. So, although the salad wasn't really our first choice, we enjoyed it, so I'm going to tell you all about it anyway. The Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Salad was a sizable dish that came with fresh crispy iceberg and romaine lettuces, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, a hard boiled egg, and crispy tortillas, with a nice portion of tasty jumbo lump  blue crab. The dressing was especially good, and had a spice to it that made it stand out.   Not bad for a nice lunch. Since I do plan on returning to City Hall in the near future, I'll have a taste of my original Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Imperial appetizer then, and let you know right here it if made my senses reel, as I suspect it will.

Sesame Seared North Atlantic Salmon
Order in the court; the review of the entrees is now in session . As Primary Decisions, we ordered the Sesame Seared North Atlantic Salmon and the Grilled Skirt Steak. They were both superb! I'll start with the salmon. The salmon was topped with toasted cashews and a miso glaze that made me want to lick the fork. It was that good. The fish was fresh, seasoned to perfection, and very tender. It came with a shitake jasmine rice that was very flavorful and paired well with the salmon and baby bok choy. The whole dish came together beautifully and was truly a gastronomical sensation.

Grilled Skirt Steak
The Grilled Skirt Steak was another hit. The flavor was intense and it was topped with kalamata olives, crumbled goat cheese, and a tomato-coriander vinaigrette that just got more delicious with every bite. The meat was juicy, with a hint of smoky flavor and cooked precisely to our specifications. It sat above a tri-color couscous that was fabulous and practically dissolved in my mouth as it blended with the vinaigrette; creating a combustion of yummy flavors, while the bold taste of the goat cheese blended perfectly with the other ingredients, adding a kick to the whole experience.

The portions were generous and by the time we were finished, I was disappointed I could not have any dessert to finish the meal. I did look around to our neighboring tables, and noticed some amazing looking desserts, presented beautifully, which I must try on my trip back to City Hall. Upon leaving, I also noticed they offer a "Gospel Brunch" which sounds pretty interesting so that is definitely  something else to look forward to. Can't help but want to say "Meeting Adjourned" at this point, but it really isn't, because I've got plenty more adventures to share with you.  To check out City Hall - The Restaurant, visit them online at or call them at 305 764-3130.

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