Old City Hall Restaurant is in Bay City, Michigan and it is located in the building that was the old city hall of the city. We ended up in Bay City, because I was tagging along going as a guest for a board meeting, the dinner was Thursday night and then the meeting was Friday morning. I had been near the city before, but had never been there and the restaurant was only about two blocks from the hotel where the meeting would be held and we were staying at. Everything was prearranged, so I just went with the flow and I tried to be a wall-flower. Though it was the beginning of a long weekend that we were on to celebrate our anniversary, so I was doing research on the spots where we were going to go, and most of the time my research is fruitful.
I had looked at the menu of Old City Hall and there was much that had piqued my interest. The dinner for the board meeting was being held in a private side room that had a bar as well, just for the group. The menu for the evening had been pre-selected and they were fine choices. Of course, yours truly is kind of “high maintenance” and I had to ask for substitutions starting with the salad course. They were offering salads with three different dressings, Ranch, Blue Cheese and Raspberry Vinaigrette; and I was able to get Italian dressing, just a simple request and that was easy. There were three choices for our entrée offerings. Salmon braised in fish stock with a Thyme and Citrus Crème Fraiche, which I did not see being served near me. The T-Bone Steak with Roasted Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and green beans seemed to be the choice of the majority. The last choice of the evening was Chicken Oscar, a variation of the classic Veal Oskar where this was a sautéed chicken breast topped with blue crabmeat, asparagus and a white wine butter sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans and that is what my Bride had ordered. This is where my chutzpah really came to the forefront, because I asked the server that I had noticed that they had on the regular menu Duck Confit served with a “lobi” which was a mixture of beans. Our server said that it would not be a problem, as the duck was priced less than the dishes being served and I was a happy camper, especially because it was prepared perfectly and it was one of the largest servings I had ever seen. I had been prepared to pay for my dinner if there would have been any problems with my substitution.
We started off the evening having some wine by the glass during the cocktail hour period and we had a most pleasant Starborough Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from Marlborough region of New Zealand. Marlborough is the main wine growing region of New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc is almost synonymous with Marlborough. It is a fresh and flinty tasting wine that is just so refreshing and a great way to start off a meal. We finished off the meal with Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2010. Taylor Fladgate is one of the most accessible of Port wines from Oporto in the Douro Region of Portugal. Late Bottled Vintage Ports are almost issued every year as compared to Vintage Port and the Late Bottled Vintage Ports stay in the barrel between four and six years and is a great way to appreciate Port without the major expense of a vintage declaration. Port wines are a mysterious blend of many varietals and perhaps the only one to know exactly would be the winemaker, but some of the vines have intermingled over the years, so it may be moot to be able to totally identify the grapes. The most common and traditional grapes are: Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roritz, Tinta Cao, Sousao, Tinta Amarela and Mourisco Tinto. The wine that we had between the two that I have mentioned I purchase separately as I did not want any complaints that I was taking advantage of the largesse of the board members, even though after they had found out that we were celebrating our anniversary. I selected a wine, even before I found out that I could have the Duck Confit, so it was not a Pinot Noir wine. The restaurant had on their wine carte Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 2011 and that is not a Chardonnay wine encountered that often. Puligny-Montrachet is in the Cote de Beaune region of Burgundy and it is home to four Grand Cru and seventeen Premier Cru appellations. While both red and white wines are found in Puligny-Montrachet, it is the white wines that are famed. It was worth the added expense to have that wine with the meal. The next day we had breakfast and lunch with the board and after the meeting was completed we were off to enjoy the rest of the weekend.