Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lanny's Alta Cocina

--------- Guest post from Sunni---------

Babysitter secured, everyone’s in - where to go? We originally planned to make reservations at St. Emilion, but alas, they are closed for renovations. Thinking caps back on . . . what about Lanny’s? I have had the pleasure of dining at Lanny’s on two other occasions, but it had been a while since I had visited, and I had a pleasant memory of lamb with cilantro chimichurri floating about in my head. It sounded good to the rest of the crowd, so with high hopes for a dazzling repeat, we headed east into the big city for a night out.

We arrived early and headed to the bar area for a pre-dinner drink. The ladies of the party opted for sangria. Delicious. Great balance of wine, triple sec, and fruitiness, but not too sweet. The gentlemen enjoyed a martini and scotch . . .yawn. But they seemed to enjoy them. Wish they would add a bigger bar area, because I would love to be able to go there for a pomegranate margarita or sangria then head over to St. Emilion or wherever for dinner. Anyway, on to the food.

It has been Restaurant Week in Fort Worth, and Lanny’s is still participating. There are two options each for starter, entrée, dessert, and 1 option for “fourth course.” It being August and all, none in our party were interested in the soup with duck confit, so we all began with the seared Ahi tuna and salad. The dressing was creamy but not overly so, with a tangy bite and satisfying crunch from the pine nuts sprinkled throughout. It wasn’t the freshest tuna I’ve been served but it was fine. The salad portion was great.

We ordered our entrees split evenly down gender lines: the ladies ordered the Sea Bass with fresh angel hair and garlic and the guys chose the lamb with roasted pepper marmalade and asparagus. My fish was a bit overcooked not to my liking, and my neighbor’s fish was overcooked according to her directions (she likes all fish, poultry, and meat cooked well done). The spice blend atop the fish was great- it gave an otherwise kind of boring fish a bit of zip. The star of the show was the homemade pasta. I forget, because I don’t take the time to make fresh pasta at home, how delightful it is, and how it picks up the accompanying flavors so much better than dried. Maybe that will be a goal for this winter: make some fresh pasta. But I digress. You need to hear about the lamb. As I mentioned earlier, the lamb at Lanny’s is a past favorite of mine. If there had been any mention of cilantro mint chimichurri I would have been right there ordering it. But sadly, it was not to be. It’s likely for the best as lamb gives me frightening indigestion- it’s so rich, you know? The husbands both enjoyed their lamb and asparagus but Neighbor husband’s seemed to be cooked more closely to the medium they both ordered. I had 3 bites of Nick’s lamb and I thought it was flavorful and tasted like high quality lamb, but I was disappointed in the red pepper marmalade. For those interested, Lanny’s uses only domestic lamb from Colorado. Many restaurants import from New Zealand. On to the fourth course. Oh, wait, I can’t report on this since the waitress didn’t bring it and I didn’t remind her until she brought the dessert, at which point I was not into the idea of scallops and couscous. For dessert, we split the ordering down couple lines- Neighbors opted for the chocolate brownie with ice cream and Husband and I ordered the carjeta crème brulee. This was not the best crème brulee I have ever had by a long shot. In my humble opinion, the addition of the caramel took away from the simple goodness of crème brulee. The brownies were rich but nothing groundbreaking. I would have liked to have seen some innovation at dessert- maybe some chile spice or something paired with the chocolate? And crème brulee seems like phoning it in. It was even topped with the very traditional raspberries and blueberries.

Wine: I am the only brave soul that chose the wine pairing option, and it turns out sometimes safety pays. All 3 wines were so forgettable I can’t even remember what they were called. The white was crisp enough, the red in the middle was highly touted by the waitress as being “organic,“ and the champagne finisher was so strong it almost tasted like port. I like port, but I just think my taste buds were confused. The guys picked the Trefethen Cabernet to accompany their lamb and it was delicious. The other lady in the party stuck to Sangria for the night -- another wise choice.

Moral of the story: Just reading the menu online tells you so much more about Lanny’s. Typically, a meal there is fresh, complex but not pretentious, and service is excellent. This being an overly crowded time, I think it hurt the experience wholesale -- from service to food. My recommendation is undoubtedly for you to go to Lanny’s -- just not during Restaurant Week, which I feel diluted what is usually an innovative dining experience. The lower than normal prix fixe is not worth it.

Lanny's Alta Cocina
3405 W 7th Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107

From the editor: thanks again, Sunni.


Anonymous said...

My girlfriend and I had pretty much the same experience. The crème brulee, her favorite, almost seemed like it was picked up as Sam's during the day since it was cold and looked 'out of the box'. This was our first attempt at Lanny's and we weren't that pleased. It was ok...but obviously I expected much, much more.

Victor Shivone said...

Lets eat! I love a good leg of lamb.

Sunni R. said...

Anon, I'm so sorry that this was your first experience with Lanny's. I really feel like the lackluster meals we had were due to the participation in RW. Maybe after you make the rounds at several other places you will feel ok giving Lanny's another chance.

Railroadmuseums said...

really? that's not good. ew!