This hot weather has a grip on us this week, no? Kind of makes you just want to get away somewhere cool like an island or a beach or anywhere where there is air conditioning like a library or a cafe or…or…some really great restaurant in the city that you haven’t tried before…maybe? YES!
A couple of weeks back, Henry, a college friend of mine, asked me to meet him for dinner at a restaurant of my choice. He was in town for a couple of meetings and staying at a midtown hotel. He asked that I choose a place in his general vicinity. I consulted my M.E.A.T. list and it didn’t let me down.
I asked Henry to meet me at the Time Warner Center. We were going to overlook Columbus Circle as we sampled the culinary stylings of chef Marc Murphy at Landmarc (10 Columbus Circle, third floor, (212) 823-6123, www.landmarc-restaurant.com).
I’ve known of chef Murphy for some time. I attended a chef lecture series at the Tribeca Y where he spoke of his humble beginnings and his path to executive chef and restaurateur. He has strong philosophies on hospitality and service that can be experienced at his various establishments. Most memorable is his practice of offering great wines by the bottle at affordable prices so patrons can have a full dining experience.
I met chef Murphy again at the Whole Food Taste of the Upper Westside event, where he was sampling mini hotdogs topped with mac and cheese one day and crazytown delicious shrimp toast the next. I knew then that I needed to get to Landmarc as soon as possible.
I met Henry at the bar and we were quickly escorted to our demurely dressed, brown paper-lined table. We could see everything from the globe in front of the Trump International Hotel to the East Side sprouting up over the edge of Central Park.
I tried to remain calm and contain my excitement about the meal to come by not immediately looking at the menu and catching up with Henry. When the moment came to look, it was thoughtful and thorough, seasonal and seductive. I let Henry take the lead on our meal (with some wide-eyed encouragement from me of course!).
First, the wine. Henry made a selection from a list of half and full bottles only. In true Marc Murphy form, there are no “wines by the glass,” as it proves to be more expensive to the customer and a less rewarding dining experience. We ordered a half bottle of red…and another later in the meal.
We began with a delicious vegetable fritto misto (fried vegetables) of asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and squash. It took me back to the fritto misto I had in Rome last summer-light, tender and not greasy.
For our entrees, we shared grilled skirt steak with frites, salad and chimichurri sauce and grilled tuna with tomato and Parmesan crisp. Both dishes were seasoned and cooked perfectly. That tuna ate like a filet mignon and the caramelization on the steak gave savory sweetness to my palate.
Dessert was just a soupcon of hot and sweet blueberry crumble with vanilla ice cream and Landmarc’s signature closing meal sweets, house-spun cotton candy (banana flavor that night…how did he know?!) and caramels.
We walked out feeling very sated and happy. Thank you, Henry, chef Murphy and your attentive staff, for a great first experience at one of your locations. I hear your lobster rolls at Ditch Plains are pretty darn good. Perhaps I will see you there soon!
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
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Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email kysha@iSCHOP.com.