A most unremarkable dinner at the Landmark Bistro

The Landmark Bistro is an upscale restaurant located in Marshall, MN. I neglected to take a picture of my own so I have included the one to the left. It is part of a header from the Schwann’s site. Schwann’s is, of course, THE Scwann’s food group which is one of the largest in Minnesota. You would think that in attaching their name to this enterprise, they would want it to be superior in every way. You’d think so anyway. Last night we had supper there in celebration of my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday.  There were six of us and the bill came to $160.00. Not an astronomical sum, but for that kind of money you would expect a fairly good dinner. We only had one relatively inexpensive bottle of wine ($26) and two draft beers. Dear reader, you are probably getting a feel for the type of evening we had. Not McDonald’s cheap, but not Ruth’s Chris over the top expensive either. This is why I am disappointed to report that I cannot give it any better than a C grade.

Perhaps we had expected too much or perhaps the lead cook was off for the evening leaving the main cooking duties to Josh from the culinary class at Marshall High School. In either case it is my sincere hope that they will hire a cook in the near future. Of the  six who dined, one had a burger and another had some basic pasta, two throw away dishes that I needn’t comment on.  I had the 16 ounce prime rib which, at $24  I expected would melt in my mouth. I was grossly disappointed by the appearance, how it was prepared, and the taste. The meat was not so much marbled with fat as the fat was interrupted by the occasional texture of solid meat. It was ordered medium. One would expect meat cooked to approximately 140 to 150 degrees which would be reflected in a discernible redness in the center of the cut. From my own experience I could tell that this rib had been cooked to well over 160 degrees. Finally I come to the taste. How does one compare the bland taste of overcooked round steak to this piece of prime rib? Oh, I just did. The rib is served on a tasty bed of asparagus which turned out to be more of a limp mattress.

One of the others had the Wild Rice Breaded Walleye With Cranberry Salsa ($16) which is described as “lightly breaded with our signature wild rice breading and served with a tart and delicious cranberry salsa.” The wild rice breading, when deep fried, turns a tasty piece of fish into an armor plated boat anchor. Finally, my wife had a Cobb salad with a side of crab cakes. The salad was adequate but one doesn’t order seafood when they live in the Midwest. The less said about that disaster the better.

As for the little details: The wine was overpriced and the draft beer warm. On a hot summer evening one bare essential is that the beer be ice cold. The service was good, but inasmuch as there were only a handful of tables I would have been surprised if it had been otherwise. The Landmark also has a nice atmosphere. The bathrooms were clean and everything was in order. My wife complained about the abundance of televisions which seemed to sprout from every inch of available wall space, but it is becoming more and more difficult to find eating establishments where this is not the case. All things considered it was a pleasant place to celebrate a birthday, but that is damning it with faint praise. Would we go back? Though I never say never it will nonetheless be a long time.

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