Landmarc: The party is overLandmarc: The party is over

Landmarc used to be one of my favorite restaurants in New York, and it was definitely my favorite in its price range ($75 to $100 for a nice dinner for two). It was perfect for out-of-town guests, especially grown-ups. It’s in a quiet, chic neighborhood, an easy train or cab ride away, and it has a refreshing approach to wine (minimal mark-up and tons of cheap half bottles). It got a favorable review in the New York Times, and New York magazine even did a piece on a bluefish dish with chorizo from the restaurant (which I once made with good results).

I had such good feelings about this place, and I went several times and had excellent meals. Nathan and I had Valentine’s dinner there a few years ago, and while I still had my old job, I brought my entire office there for a party. It went so well that I sent a thank-you note the next day. I even cited Landmarc as having one of my favorite burgers, mentioning it in the same sentence as Tessaro’s.

I don’t know what has happened since then. Has Marc Murphy ditched this place for Ditch Plains? Or his next endeavor in the Time Warner Center?

Last Sunday, we took Nathan’s charming southern parents to Landmarc for a big New York dinner. We went early, because, you know, when your folks are in town here, you eat early. They sat us downstairs, which has half the charm of upstairs, but it was so early that I figured upstairs wasn’t open yet. Everything about the dinner was a little wrong. Maybe it’s my imagination, but the prices seem to have gone up. Has that famous (but tough) pork chop always been $26? I ordered the grilled salmon ($22), which was served medium-well and slightly above room temperature on a bed of boring, underseasoned vegetables. Nathan’s father had a large order of mussels…for $21! There seems to be a popular misconception about the value of mussels (less than $3 a pound). People must subconsciously group them with scallops and oysters, which are in fact extremely costly. I would never pay more than $10 for mussels in any restaurant. Mr. H’s were served with a huge nest of mealy, unappealing fries that went mostly uneaten, and I wanted to cry about it. How can fries be that bad at 7 pm?

Our server was downright rude to us, and it all started when we ordered tap water and two half bottles of wine for the table. It was attitude and “hurry up” from the drink order to the check, and I felt awful when Mr. H felt compelled to leave the expected 20% in an effort to be a responsible tourist.

Now that Park Avalon is closed and Landmarc has turned into just another bad, overpriced New York joint, I am short on options for parents and grandparents. Suggestions are welcome!

Landmarc 179 W. Broadway (between Leonard and Worth) 212 343 3883


Mermaid Inn is one of my faves for parents and older out-of-towners.

I feel you on Landmarc – I used to highly recommend the place but after a mediocre experience a few weeks ago it’s slipped way down on the list. Too bad, we need more places like it in the city.

I couldn’t agree with you more. My partner and I went there very regularly (weeknight dinners, perfect for parents, etc.) until a couple months before Ditch Plains opened. In fact, we were comped a “friends and family” meal at Ditch Plains during the soft opening — we thought it sucked. At some point, Landmarc just lost its quality. It’s really a shame, cause we loved it for a number of years.

Our new place: Blaue Gans. Gutenbrunner’s relatively new, casual, no reserve place in Tribeca. Give it a shot.

Oh that’s so unfortunate. I’ve only been there twice now but I enjoyed the first time very much (almost a year ago) and the second time was much more mediocre honestly (about a month ago). I thought it was just me or an off night.

I just went last week and found that it was still as good as ever. I hope the other visits mentioned here are an aberration.

I was hoping the same thing, Evan. I didn’t even mention to my partner when we had two subpar visits. But then he mentioned something on our third visit and we both admitted we thought the place was diving.

Really too bad. Wouldn’t be surprised if they noticed the drop-off and some point and refocused. Maybe they’re doing that now.

Maybe it was a bad staffing idea that has been corrected. Prices are real I suppose.

This is a comment from someone whose never been to Landmarc, on the very intense virtual experience of reading Leland and Mom’s more critical restaurant reviews:

You two are amazing. So often critical reviews of a place are so bitchy and high handed but the two of you manage to infuse your stories of a disappointing meal with the sense of utter tragedy, betrayal and pain that a bad dining experience honestly can be. More sad and wistful than angry or outraged or offended. I love it. How weird is that? Of course I wish you only the best in dining out experiences, but if someone has to give a place a bad review, they and I should hope it is you.

On a writing/technical level, I believe the sad beauty of your review comes, in part, from here:

“Mr. H’s were served with a huge nest of mealy, unappealing fries that went mostly uneaten, and I wanted to cry about it. How can fries be that bad at 7 pm? […] I felt awful when Mr. H felt compelled to leave the expected 20% in an effort to be a responsible tourist.”

It’s this excrutiating self-conciousness on the part of the writer as host that is so intimate and honest and . . . I’m just so moved. And that question sounds so innocently, honestly posed, not accusatory, just baffled. Sigh.

Thank you, everyone, for reading and commenting! It sounds like many of us have had similar experiences at this once-great place.

Cody: Thanks for the tip on the Mermaid Inn. I will definitely put it on the short list!

Mbaldwin: That’s cool that they comped you on Ditch Plains, but it’s true that everyone has said it’s lousy. I’ve been wanting to try Blaue Gans, and now I won’t miss it.

Yvo: Welcome to the club!

Evan: You’re lucky.

zp: You are fabulous, and we always appreciate your comments and support on Eat. I do always feel so bad for other people during bad restaurant experiences.

The Harrison is always lovely. You never have to worry about the service or food since it’s always good – It’s where my wife and I had our parents meet for the first time.

how about the mussels loss? and the time to clean them, to wash them, to strain them up… there is a lot of maintenance on it if you would like a good ( non bad smelly_ ) dish out of it :)

Add a comment