This restaurant is closed!
179 West Broadway
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 343-3883
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: French (Bistro)
2nd Cuisine: Italian
Entree Price: $20-25
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard
When a chef leaves the narrow spotlight of celebrity, you wonder what will happen. Will they fade away into obscurity, or launch a line of pots and pans, or come back reinvented and reinvigorated? In the case of Marc Murphy, the heartthrob and celebrity chef of Cellar in the Sky and La Fourchette, the answer is clearly the last of the three options. At Landmarc, his debut restaurant, owned with his wife Pamela Schein Murphy Marc is back, reinvigorated and reinvented, turning out some seriously ambitious, but decidedly down-home French and Italian fare, with buddy and chef de cuisine Frank Proto (formerly of Layla).
Dark, sultry, and seductive, Landmarc is warmed with the blaze of an open hearth oven, and natural elements like exposed brick, soaring ceilings crafted from original wood beams, and pounded copper and silver accents that give the space a sense of warmth and intimacy. The large menu invites neighborhood locals to become regulars by offering enough variety to keep you fed every night of the week without repeating a dish.
Daily pasta specials will draw you back on Tuesdays for a killer carbonara ($9/16), and Saturdays for a rich and sultry Bolognese made with delicious shredded short ribs ($12/$19). Marc gets creative in some plates, like goat cheese profiteroles with roasted red pepper salad ($8), but most of his menu showcases simple bistro favorites, done very well. This may seem like an easy task, but it belies Marc's talent. Steak Frites is available in all sorts of cuts with a choice of sauces. We chose the Strip ($24), with a vibrant bordelaise, and were very pleased. It was spot on—a great charred crust, juicy, rosy and tender the center. The mussels, served in cast iron pots, are fat and sweet and are bound to inspire a fan club (small ($11) and large ($18, with fries). They come in five preparations. I have tried two so far—the chorizo and onion (loved it), and the dijonnaise (see previous parenthetical). The fries are long, golden and crisp and served with aioli.
As I mentioned earlier, the menu is very large; Marc and Pam really want the place to be a neighborhood spot where folks can drop in a few times a week and always find something new and something they crave. (In keeping with their desire to make their restaurant accessible to regulars, they have also priced their wines very fairly, with markups that are well below industry average.) Under apps, you've got dishes like fois gras terrine with pickled red onions ($12), as for salads, chose from classics, sized small and large, like frisee au lardons, with a nice runny poached egg on top $9/$14). Entrees include pan seared salmon with lentils and frisee ($19) and a savory duck confit with white beans, chorizo and spinach ragout ($20). Wait there's more. In a box entitled "Landmarc Specials," you'll find Marc's signatures like crispy sweetbreads with horseradish and green beans ($21), and boudin noir with fries, caramelized onions and apples. For every craving, a dish. For Desserts are miniature treats, $3 each or all six for $15, including one of the best lemon tarts in the city—a rectangular slab with a sweet-tart lemon curd slathered over dense and buttery pastry crust.
It is clear that with Landmarc, Marc has reached a level point in his career where he is not looking for Supa-stah chef attention. At his restaurant, he wants to cook food that is easy to love and easy to return to, often. This may turn into a place like Five Points, where you feel at home and enjoy good food season after season, year after year. That, to me, is the surest sign of success.
Review By: Andrea Strong