Wednesday, January 21, 2015

For tourists in Manhattan, breakfast, lunch and dinner can be pricey

On Saturday evening, the Catch of the Day at the uptown branch of Landmarc in Manhattan was roasted Long Island Fluke. The restaurant serves "contemporary bistro fare that blends French and Italian favorites," according to its Web site.

Landmarc is popular with families, probably because it is one of the most affordable restaurants in the Time Warner Center, home to Per Se and Masa, where you can easily spend many hundreds of dollars on dinner.


Unless you're a tourist who is willing to settle for fast food with mysterious ingredients, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out in Manhattan can be pricey.

After we checked into the Park Hyatt New York on West 57th Street on Saturday afternoon and rested, we walked a few blocks to the Time Warner Center for dinner at Landmarc.

Our reservation was for 5 p.m. to give us plenty of time to eat before a 7 p.m. jazz concert a couple of floors above the restaurant.

We ate dinner at Landmarc in May 2011, when I described the experience this way:

"Crowds. Noise. Great food and service."

But Landmarc has changed.

I didn't recall the industrial-chic decor: 

Walls covered with black metal, lots of natural wood planks and exposed rebar -- steel reinforcing rods used in concrete construction.

The restaurant is the first in New York I've encountered that doesn't serve bread, and if you want a glass of wine, you're out of luck, because only half- and full bottles are available.

2011 and 2015

In 2011, we were seated at a table for two sandwiched between two other couples whose every word I could easily overhear; on Saturday night, we were shown to a booth.

The food is still really good, but Traver, our waiter, left a lot to be desired.

We ordered one small grapefruit juice, an appetizer to share and two entrees (fish and a burger), and when my wife saw the bill, she was shocked: $85.47, including tax, but not tip.

I left a $12 tip, a couple of dollars short of the recommended 18% shown on the credit-card slip, bringing the total to nearly $100.

A Landmarc Chopped Salad of beets, cucumber, tomato and other ingredients with added shrimp.

The Landmarc Hamburger.

The dining room gets noisy when full.

Where is the serving spoon?

At Landmarc, we started by sharing an appetizer portion of Chopped Salad for $16, and asked for grilled shrimp as an add on for $7 more.

The crunchy salad and the tender, barely cooked shrimp in a large soup bowl couldn't be faulted, but the food runner brought the dish without a serving spoon, making it difficult to share.

I couldn't get the waiter's attention until we had almost finished the appetizer, and he seemed miffed when I pointed out the lack of a serving spoon -- a problem I've encountered many times before.

Traver also seemed impatient when my wife couldn't decide what to order, and she complained the rim of the water glasses and some of the plates could have been cleaner.

My entree was a wonderful roasted fillet of Long Island Fluke served over Mediterranean Farro (grains of wheat) with black-and-green olives, oven-roasted tomatoes and parsley pesto ($31).

Fluke is a great eating fish cooked or raw, and this moist, flaky fillet was no exception.

My wife's Landmarc Burger was $20, including an extra $3 for blue cheese.

Landmarc, 10 Columbus Circle, in the Time Warner Center, New York, N.Y.; 1-212-823-6123.

The Parisian Combination at Cafe Europa in Manhattan included a Wild Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Omelet with home fries, mini bagels, coffee and tomato juice ($14.95). My wife's All American Combination included OJ, tea, scrambled eggs, French toast and sausage ($15.25).

This branch of Cafe Europe, which is popular with foreign tourists, judging from the languages I heard, is at 205 W. 57th St. in Manhattan.

Breakfast at the hotel?

On a rainy Sunday morning, we took one look at our luxury hotel's menu of breakfast entrees, each costing more than $20, and decided to eat out.

We borrowed two umbrellas from the doorman, and walked less than a block to Cafe Europa at Seventh Avenue and West 57th Street.

We ordered two breakfast combinations and with tax and a $5 tip, the total came to $37.88.

For a light lunch, we tried Le Pain Quotidien (The Daily Bread) on the next block.

A bowl of soup, glass of wine and salad with smoked salmon set us back $42.22, including tax and a $4.50 tip. 

A large Organic Minestrone is served with two kinds of bread at Le Pain Quotidien in Manhattan ($8.95). I also ordered a glass of red wine ($8.50).

My wife's Salad with Smoked Salmon was $17.20 at this branch of Le Pain Quotidien, 922 Seventh Ave. in Manhattan.

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