Hotel dining is rarely stuffy these days. Now its fatal flaw is that it often takes itself too seriously. Chefs don’t merely cook–they make statements. So what makes this effort from the Kimpton Group different? Its easygoing mix of fun and sophistication, of trendiness and simplicity. There might be better places to impress a client, but few will make you more comfortable.
The dining room is a hive of excitement, the open kitchen a clattering den of plates–yet you’re rarely overwhelmed by sound. The muted color scheme imposes a sense of calm and order. Behind the scenes, however, it’s a period of transition. Dennis Marron–formerly of Jackson 20 and the Grille at Morrison House in Old Town–has taken over for Rob Weland, who left this past fall after seven years, and a tightly focused menu of well-executed dishes built on local meats and produce has expanded to include nearly three times as many options, an array of French brasserie staples, and more unevenness.
What to get: An oyster shooter, a briny bivalve submerged in a spiky Bloody Mary; jumbo-shrimp cocktail with Marie Rose sauce; a smartly rendered upmarket bánh mì showcasing a thick slab of anise-scented pâté; tuna niçoise, its medley of olives, potatoes, haricots verts, and hard-boiled egg overlayed with slices of seared bigeye tuna; smoked-trout rillettes; a deconstructed clam chowder, with seared, skin-on rockfish surrounded by steamed clams, cubed potatoes and large bacon bits; truffle fries; Armagnac date pudding.
Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Expensive.