Let me just start by saying ""sparse"" and ""modern"" are not words I usually associate with places I like. I am, however, going to make an exception in the case of CITY HOUSE. (Incidentally I also generally take issue with words spelled in all caps because I feel like someone is YELLING AT ME FOR NO REASON, but again, I'm willing to overlook it this time.) The reason I am being so uncharacteristically generous here is because CITY HOUSE has both great food and an exciting atmosphere, and restaurants rarely manage to achieve both of those things at once.
CITY HOUSE is a somewhat recent addition to historic Germantown, and in keeping with that Old Worldly theme, the entrance looks like a beautifully weathered Italian home. It is attractive but rustic, which is something you might say about the family-style food you'll find inside. They even have an outdoor ""room"" that is evocative of a screened-in porch, and I have no doubt it will be prime real estate once spring actually arrives.
Most delightful, however, are the intriguing Italian-based menu items your group will get to choose from. The menus are seasonal and Chef Tandy Wilson makes the most of what's fresh. The Roasted Vegetable Salad with Walnut Pesto and Pecorino is a prime example of this - - the sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts are perfectly cooked and seasoned. And these are far from the ""icky"" brussel sprouts kids are always feeding to dogs on 1950's sitcoms, so have no fear.
If you're looking for something a little more adventurous, try out the Potato Pizza or the Octopus Pasta. The latter is slightly fishy, but in the good taste-of-the-ocean way, not the stale can-of-tuna way. Their House Cured Salami and Olive antipasti are also satisfying ways to start out your meal.
And speaking of starting yourself out right, let me suggest one of CITY HOUSE's signature cocktails to take the edge off. I fell in love with the Dark & Stormy, a drink that packs an unexpected zing and is made up of Goslings Rum, Ginger Beer and Lime. (I was once told by an orthopedic tech who was putting me in a cast that I was ""dark and stormy"" myself, so I pretty much order this whenever it's offered. To be fair, who is light and cheery when their foot is being encased in plaster for the second time in one year? Yeah, that's what I thought.)
If you're in a slightly more sparkly place than my decidedly downbeat demeanor allows, test out The Classic, a cocktail served martini-style that consists of Moscato D? Asti (sparkling white wine) and House Infused Lemon Vodka. This was the perfect pairing with their dessert du jour, some fluffy cake concoction, the name of which I do not know because I was too busy stuffing my face with it to ask the waiter. I could care less about anything sweet if it doesn't come in a wine glass, but this strawberry-sauced slice of heaven had the best icing I've ever tasted. It was more like fresh whipped cream than it was like icing, and I literally took it out of the birthday girl's hands because I have no shame.