Landmarc TWC

Everyone seems to be writing good things about Landmarc and its new location at the Time Warner Center.

landmarc [at the time warner center] remains true to its original vision — delicious, straightforward bistro food with an award-winning wine list, all at reasonable prices. an amalgam of industrial and natural materials — exposed brick, hardwood floors, rebar and rusted metals, along with a smattering of luxurious materials, recall the downtown roots of landmarc’s tribeca outpost while creating a sense of luxury for this flagship location. [sic]

After all this hype, I really had high expectations for my dinner at Landmarc. We went, with V's family again (thanks!), for dinner after a show on Broadway. Overall I was satisfied, but I feel like the restaurant doesn't quite know what it is yet.

As I was walking home from dinner, I decided that Landmarc is like silly putty. Careful planning and intense research with the hope of developing the next breakthrough didn't quite result in what was expected, but produced a fun product that can be enjoyed by everyone. Such is Landmarc TWC. The atmosphere is fun, with a cool design and fun music playing, the staff wear black t-shirts keeping it not too dressy; but it isn't quite as much of a breakthrough as expected.

I haven't been to the TirBeCa location, but I know that it has been successful and is much smaller. This new location has a cool industrial decor with rebar on the ceiling and weathered wooden tables. It seemed a bit odd that our table looked out to a shopping mall. Even if the Shops at TWC are upscale, it brought the atmosphere down a notch from upscale to "dinner at the mall" for us. I imagine that if we were seated with a view out at Columbus Circle, I'd have been much more impressed.

The menu is unique, a folded sheet of tabloid sized paper, arranged somewhat peculiarly with lots of options under various headings. I had heard good things about some of the appetizers, "a few of the items, like the roasted marrow bones and goat cheese profiteroles, are already classics." So that's what V and I ordered. I found the marrow bones certainly to be unique, but difficult to eat. The plate came with three thick bones, kind of like those I'd give the dog, along with grilled bread, caramelized onions and a little bowl of sea salt. I stacked little bites of each element, but it was a real challenge to get the marrow out of the bones. V's profiteroles, or cream puffs were very good, with a nice taste and texture.

Because I had steak the night before, I decided against Landmarc's hangar steak (or others) and ordered mussels with chorizo and onion. They came in a cast iron pot with plenty of mussels and lots of sausage mixed in. I like mussels because they force you to take your time eating, though they are a bit of a messy meal. I found the seasonings to be very good, though bites of mussel and sausage had the chorizo overpowering the more subtle flavor of the mussel. This was also served with a large basket of french fries, that made for quite a sizable dinner. I couldn't even come close to eating all the fies, but they were tasty on their own and dipped in the mussel sauce.

V enjoyed the filet mignon with a sauce called butter maître d'hôtel, which is actually a pat of herbed butter placed atop the filet and allowed to melt into the steak as you eat it. It was very good, as a filet should be. It also came with the same french fries on the side. We also tried the "crushed potatoes" (they don't allow substitutions), and we were curious as to what these would be. Mashed? No, crushed is very accurate, they're small potatoes cooked and slightly smashed and seasoned before serving. Nothing amazing, but a unique preparation.

We didn't try any desserts, but it is worth noting that they are only $3 each, and they look very good. Our server did bring out a few house-made caramels which were a nice end to a very nice meal. I'm glad I went to Landmarc, it didn't quite meet my preconceived expectations, but, like silly putty, it is a lot of fun, and I'll probably give it another try now that I know what to expect.

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