Sunday, January 18, 2009

This Landmarc Is No Landmark

When I first heard about restaurants opening in the Time Warner Center, my first thought was "ooh...I love a good food court!" That thought didn't last long once I heard which restaurants would be coming into the "mall," with names like Per Se and Masa. Landmarc was the last to open of a pretty impressive line-up. This is the second location under the same name by the Anvil Restaurant Group, with the other location in Tribeca.

Walking into Landmarc, I could definitely sense the look they were trying to go for, as it was described on the restaurant's website: "seemlessly blending industrial and natural materials to create a warm, accessible and inviting restaurant." The large loft-type space was very dimly lit, and had amazing floor to ceiling windows with views of Columbus Circle and Central Park. It was definitely nice to watch the snow coming down from a warm, cozy restaurant rather than from outside!

AK and I were seated next to one of the windows, which I was really happy about, but that all quickly changed when we saw the large party with 5 screaming kids at the table behind us. This didn't seem like a kid-friendly restaurant, especially at 8:30 on a Saturday night. But once I saw that there was a kids menu, I realized that maybe this "accessible" thing they were going for was taken a little too literally. Luckily, the party was finishing up and on their way out before our appetizers arrived.

One of the nice aspects of Landmarc is that all of their wines are sold to the diners at wholesale price. Not sure how or why they do it, but I'll take it! We started with a bottle of Shiraz and two appetizers. And, although we ended up with two involving cheese, you didn't see me complaining. First up were the Warm Goat Cheese Profiteroles served over an herb and roasted red pepper salad, which were delicious. The salad was bland and didn't add anything to the dish. We also had Smoked Mozzarella & Ricotta Fritters with fried zucchini & spicy tomato sauce. The zucchini was definitely the star of this one, with a light, cripsy batter. The mozzarella fritters were a little too similar to typical mozzarella sticks for my liking. But again...hard for me to talk too poorly about cheese, especially when it comes fried!

For my entree, I decided to order something sans cheese and went with the Roast Chicken, served with crushed potatoes, haricots verts & dijonnaise. It was a solid dish, but nothing above average. The chicken was moist and flavorful, and the green beans were cooked well, and nice and garlicky. Apparently not having had his cheese fix yet, AK ordered the Vegetable Risotto, which came with mushrooms, peas, tomatoes & parmesan. I had recently seen an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" in which he dined on what he calls one of the best risotto in the world (Forward to 1:16...risotto acrobatics!).
I tasted a bite (only to do my Miss Menu due diligence!), and while it may not have been as good as that of Venice, it was a really well-made risotto.

I have a hard time resisting anything related to Nutella, so for dessert, I decided to go with the Nutella eclaire. It was a little too light on the Nutella flavor, but the eclaire was fluffy and delicious. AK ordered the mint chocolate chip cone, which was a scoop of ice cream with a sugar cone served on top upside down. Creative presentation, but nothing too special taste-wise.

I've since read a handful of reviews of Landmarc, and everyone has come to pretty much the same concensus. The food at the Time Warner Center location is fine, but the one in Tribeca is much better all around. It's quite possible this is why there was no wait for a table on a Saturday night. I definitely am eager to check out the other location to see if it lives up to the landmark expectations.

Landmarc
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle - 3rd Floor
website
Menu Pages listing

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