In defining chef and owner Bill Brodsky’s vision at his newly opened City Landing, we might look to the banquettes for clues. Lining the walls and some interior islands, too, the upholstery pairs a fabulous lime green and white optical-illusion pattern with a plain brown that’s almost the shade of dirt. It’s the right amount of sophisticated playfulness anchored by earthy realism.
That goes for the food — including the separate dedicated vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu — too.
Brodsky tops Parmesan-bru-leed spinach and ricotta dump-lings with amazing poached Shimeji mushrooms, and finishes them with crisp fried artichoke sprinkles that add texture and oniony flavor. Artichoke scratchings also show up on a tender flounder crusted with a flavorful dice of tomatoes and al dente asparagus. A smattering of mustard-Champagne beurre blanc adds a tangy edge. The calf’s liver with braised leeks is completed by a chunky piece of ham and a porcini-and-potato pierogi.
City Landing’s pizzetas may just become legendary. A white cheesy base topped with portobellos has a great chewy crust.
Another soon-to-be rave is the “Bostonian Shrimp n’ Grits,” a play on Southern comfort via Massachusetts-milled cornmeal spiked with rock shrimp (surely the tastiest shrimp), roasted peppers and a touch of smoky-spicey linguica. Brodsky isn’t shy when it comes to bold, rich dishes, but he knows balance. To be bold without brashness is the key here.
Care for a snack?
City Landing takes over the original Sel de la Terre spot on Boston’s Long Wharf and retains its spacious sidewalk patio overlooking the now-verdant Rose F. Kennedy Greenway. In the bar and lounge, Brodsky’s “Bar Crumbs” small-plate menu adds snacks like pork belly sliders with pickled ramps and fried chicken and waffles with traditional white sawmill gravy. Did we mention how rich they are? Not the bad kind, though: Entrees range from $15 to $39.