Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“The unfortunate part of sharing the space with a lounge and a pub means that the restaurant really loses its identity.”
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Address: 65 Exeter Street
Date of Visit: Sunday, August 21, 2011
Server Name: Matt
First of all, we apologize for the lack of quality on these pictures from City Bar. The whole place is dimly lit with low lights and candles – which is great for ambiance, but not so great for good photographs with a point and shoot camera. City Table is located in the Lenox, but has an external entrance as well. It’s one of the Lenox’s three bars, the others being City Bar, which looks like it has the same drink menu but not as many food options (we’ll get to that one eventually!), and Solas, a traditional-looking Irish pub consisting of two levels and more pub fare than fancy small plates and the like. The interesting thing about City Table is the smell – it has a distinct lemon-y smell that we’ve only ever smelt in the Lenox property; it must have something to do with their cleaner or air freshener.
The unfortunate part of sharing the space with a lounge and a pub means that the restaurant really loses its identity. We’ve noticed that when either of the other bars are full, you’ll start seeing a pretty eccentric crowd. While this is usually something we look forward to, it brought images of snazzy lounge-goers and soccer hooligans sitting at the bar while people try to enjoy a dinner! Fortunately, despite it being Restaurant Week, the place was practically empty.
The bathroom is located in the Lenox’s main lobby and is pretty snazzy (think plush individual hand towels). The men’s room even has televisions over the urinals (Eric sneaked a peek at Big Brother during dinner). We came here for our second Restaurant Week dinner – while the food was good for the Restaurant Week price, we can’t image paying the regular menu prices for the product we got (aka they way under-cooked our steak frites) – but, the creme brule was great! The service, despite it being so slow, was somewhat lacking, we think we only saw our waiter 2 or 3 times during the entire visit. Even when Eric was clearly unhappy with the fact that some of his steak frites were raw, the server didn’t seem to be concerned.
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: City Bar Metro
Ingredients: Absolut kurant, lillet blanc, chambord, lime juice
Review: This was a middle of the road beverage. It was fruity from the Chamboud, but had a bit of a tangy aftertaste (this could be because I drank it after the sweet creme brule). It made my mouth pucker a bit, which was unexpected with the lillet blanc (a light wine). I was hoping for better, but it wasn’t bad.
Eric’s Drink of Choice: Summer Wind
Ingredients: Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain, rosemary, grapefruit juice
Review: This beverage was incredibly complex. At present time, I’m pretty sure I’m still trying to figure out exactly what was going on in my mouth (okay…I set myself up for that one). The tang that the grapefruit juice offered was perfectly offset by the rosemary, and these combination of flavors played wonderfully off of the Gin. For those that don’t know, Hendrick’s isn’t your traditional “Christmas tee”-like Gin, rather, Hendrick’s is usually paired with cucumber rather than a lime as a garnish, and is much more gentle on the palate, cutting the usually Gin taste drastically.
The fruitiness of the cocktail was pretty intense, and the St. Germain really helped to accentuate the flavors. Often mixed with sparkling white wine, it truly amplified the flavor of the grapefruit juice while also smoothing the flavors with hints of peach and pear. Unfortunately, the intese sweet flavor means you can only have one of these in a sitting.
Wine Prices: Eleven whites by the glass from $7 to $12 dollars and twelve reds by the glass from $8 to $12 dollars. Five sparkling wines by the glass from $9 to $12 as well.
Beer Prices: City Table offers ten bottled beers, although no prices are listed on the menu.
Other: They have tons of drink options here – eleven martinis at $12 each, including the Van Gogh Blue (vodka, blue cheese, olives) and the Willy Wonka (chocolate vodka, Godiva white and dark, creme de caca0) which I was tempted to order. There are also nine cocktails at $11 each, including sangria and a few mixed Gin drinks, ten $11 Classics (self explanatory), six champagne libations at $8 each and finally four $9 “with a kick” champagne drinks.