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Marc on Landmarc

Note: For a more recent review of Landmarc in TriBeCa, click here. For a review of Landmarc at the Time-Warner Center, click here.

Landmarc is the latest cool restaurant in TriBeCa, a neighborhood that already has plenty of them. It’s named for chef-owner Marc Murphy, who cut his teeth at Le Cirque, La Fourchette, Layla, and Cellar in the Sky, among other places. Landmarc has more humble aspirations than these temples of haute cuisine. It has the feel of a neighborhood hangout, with exposed brick walls and waitstaff in black t-shirts. The menu offers a range of French, Italian, and plain old American comfort food.

I ambled into Landmarc today for lunch. It was about 1pm, and the restaurant was around 1/3rd full. It actually got a tad busier by the time I left, but the downstairs was still well under 1/2 full. I took a look upstairs, where only two or three tables were occupied. There is a gorgeous 3/4ths-enclosed booth that the manager said is available for parties of 6.

I don’t like to drink before the evening. The ample selection of half-bottles of wine was duly noted, but the staff did not mind that I preferred tap water. I ordered the asparagus soup (yummy) and steak au poivre. Not much can be done to improve an age-old recipe like steak au poivre. Landmarc served a thick piece of meat, crusty on the outside and cooked to a perfect medium rare on the inside, topped with onions. The pepper sauce got the job done, but it was a bit runny and soaked the bottom layer of french fries. The fries that the sauce didn’t get to were crisp and medium-thickness. Landmarc offers six choices of desserts for $3 apiece, or you can have one of each for $15. I was far too full to try even one, but it has to be the best dessert bargain in town.

Service was attentive and efficient at the beginning of the meal, but visits to my table seemed to tail off near the end. They kept me waiting for the steak a bit longer than they should, but all was forgiven once I tasted it. The manager did make a point of coming around to every table and saying hello.

For a place that doesn’t take reservations for parties less than six, both the placement and the size of the bar seem to be a miscalculation. It’s at the back of the restaurant, so patrons who want to wait at the bar before their table is ready have to pass through the downstairs dining area. There are only five bar stools, so I suspect it will get crowded back there, potentially a distraction for those who’ve already been seated.

I don’t know if Landmarc will take a cell phone number and call you when they’re ready. If so, I suspect Buster’s Garage, the NASCAR-themed sports bar across the street, will pick up a lot of the overflow. I read in the minutes for Community Board 1’s March meeting that there have already been compaints in the neighborhood about the noise at the newly-opened Buster’s.

It hasn’t been open long, but Landmarc is already a destination restaurant. In an LA Times article yesterday, “Dining Frenzy Takes Gotham,” Landmarc was listed as one of eight hot new restaurants in New York. Amanda Hesser’s review in the NYT gave Landmarc one star, which seemed to me correct (in a system that doesn’t allow half-stars).

Landmarc (179 West Broadway between Leonard and Worth Streets, TriBeCa)

Food: *½
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *½

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