Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mashed chick peas and tiny desserts at Landmarc

On Tuesday night, I had a celebratory dinner with a different one of my work teams at Landmarc in Tribeca. Magically, all nine of us arrived at 8PM on the dot, so we were able to comply with Landmarc's draconian reservations regulations (won't seat incomplete parties, will only hold the table for 15 minutes).

We were led to a large round table on the second floor of the small but tastefully decorated restaurant. First up: the wine. We decided to do a bottle of red and a bottle of white; I chose the white, a Sauvignon Blanc from Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The partner on our team, GdT, chose the red-- first a Malbec that they had run out of, and finally a Cab as a replacement. I only drank the white, which was refreshing and delicious.

While we were in the process of ordering, the bread arrived. This was a standout bread course. Chunky slices of white peasant bread with a chewy crust and a stretchy interior were expertly complemented by the sweet butter with--get this-- a salted top. That's right; the ramekin of butter came with little flakes of sea salt on top. I also tried the bread with some of the olive oil on the table, which was very high quality and redolent of rosemary. Yes, I just used the word "redolent."

Delicious bread, and you can sort of see the salt flakes on the butter

We were well occupied with the bread, but our appetizers emerged promptly. It was hard to get pictures of all the food of nine people, so here's what I managed to get:

The foie gras appetizer-- JL enjoyed this dish

GdT ordered the goat cheese profiteroles. These looked very interesting, and he said they were quite good.

BS ordered the Caesar salad. He was too far away for me to get the full download, but he only ate part of the salad, so I assume it wasn't irresistibly spectacular.

Other people in our crew ordered the calimari, which was pronounced "not that great." Apparently, the calimari at the Olive Garden is better (eek!). We also had one order of onion soup, which was thoroughly enjoyed.

After the apps came the entrees. We had a large amount of food descend on our table at once. The summary:

JL had the steak, deemed very good. I tried a fry or two, and they were excellent.

The burger-- one of Landmarc's signatures. RT said it was good but not the best he's had.

The salmon, on a bed of what looks like ratatouille. GdT polished this off and gave it enthusiastic approval.

My own dish-- a chopped salad with hearts of palm, beets, cucumbers, and frisee. I opted out of the celery here (a recurring theme), attempting to substitute asparagus but coming up short once again. This was the dinner portion, and it was HUGE. I tried to eat as much as I could, but I left a large pile of cucumbers behind. It was a high-quality and very good salad.

Several people ordered the lamb chops-- a huge portion, garnering unanimous raves.

The pork chop. Didn't hear how this was, but I also didn't hear any complaints, if that counts.

A side: mashed chick peas, which were warm (somewhat surprising, for some reason). They tasted just like mashed chick peas, which is a good thing, if you like chick peas. And I do.

A side of creamed spinach (very creamy). There was also some sauteed spinach, which I didn't try.

We were all stuffed at this point, but Landmarc has some special desserts, so we pressed on. We ordered two dessert samplers for the table, which brought us two of each of their signature desserts, presented as follows:

From front to back: Creme brulee, chocolate mousse with whipped cream, lemon tart with whipped cream, tiramisu, nutella eclair, blueberry crumble.

Landmarc offers all these desserts in the small sizes seen here, each for $4, or you can get the sampler for $16. Overall, I was really impressed with these-- not only because of the innovative small sizes. The creme brulee was seriously good-- I had a good chunk of the delicious caramelized crust. The chocolate mousse was okay. The tiramisu was slightly disappointing; it tasted very refrigerated and was a bit crusted and sticky rather than creamy, if you know what I mean. The nutella eclair was really good, but the filling was very mild-- more chocolately than nutella-y. I didn't get a chance to taste the blueberry crumble before it disappeared, as it was one of the first to go. The lemon tart was the surprise standout of the bunch-- tart, sweet, smooth, and delicious.

If you go to Landmarc, definitely get the desserts. And the sides. And the food. Everything was good, and I left completely overstuffed. It should be noted that the service was really professional as well-- very friendly and competent, and they didn't rush us or make us feel unwelcome even after we lingered far longer than all the other tables in the restaurant. Landmarc is definitely a solid four Offset Spatula place.

Landmarc Tribeca (there's also a location in the Time Warner Center)
179 W. Broadway, between Leonard and Worth streets

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