Desserts are still a work in progress. The vanilla crème brûlée ($6) is another success with back-to-basics. But the milk-chocolate bread pudding ($6) is made in the modern way, from chocolate bread, and lacks the contrasts that make bread pudding interesting to eat. A pear-apple crumble ($6) was seasonal and excellent. As bad a year as this has been for tomatoes, there are some terrific apples in local markets. And Devil's chocolate cake ($6) — well, where do I sign?
City Table's dining room seems to have been cut in half from Azure's, and has fewer Edwardian details, giving it a warmer, cozier feel. Although City Bar, with its collection of whiskeys (and mixologists who know how to use them), is also located in the hotel, City Table has a bar-restaurant feel and sound of its own, complete with sports TVs. These are all-American comforts now. If Mark Twain were alive and writing his comical books of European travel, he would be making jokes about the food in Europe not tasting right without television screens.
Well, the food at City Table tastes right, and not just to tourists. It is well positioned in the Lenox tradition of conservative good taste, like unto but less extravagant than the Ritz — uh, I mean Taj. Service is not what it was in the heyday of either grand hotel, but it works. When the food works, everything works, at least for this critic.
Robert Nadeau can be reached at email@example.com.