21-52 44th Drive
Long Island City, NY 11101
LIC Market is a small, cozy place nestled among the Long Island City brownstones. But for the towering Citi building a block away, the neighborhood almost can feel like in Park Slope. Known mostly for its brunches, I was concerned that Elbie and I would arrive only to find the place shuttered. Luckily, it was open and not at all crowded this particular Friday night.
Walking in past happy folks chatting it up with the bartender, we were given a seat in the back. It wasn't quiet, but it was hardly loud. One could have a conversation without the fear that either everyone else would be paying attention or that you'd have to scream for the rest of your party to hear you. The dinner menu at LIC Market is a small one (and very seasonal), which I like because that tends to mean that the chef paid close attention to those dishes rather than try to fulfill the desires of every possible customer. Although the prices seem reasonable at first glance, the plates aren't very large, so it's actually more expensive than meets the eye. That said, you do get enough to be satisfied. In fact, you feel neither hungry nor gluttonously guilty when the end comes.
Elbie and I split our appetizers since we both wanted to try the same two: The Barnegat Bay Scallops and the Blowfish Tails. The scallops, seared with fava beans, radish, beets, and parsnip were decent though she liked them more than I did. She would have preferred that they be a bit more well done. The blowfish tails, served in a vinaigrette with beans and scallions, were the reverse. I liked them more than she did, but they were, in Elbie's defense, very bony. If you're willing to sort through the skeleton to get at the meat, you'll have a nice little reward waiting for you. The fish is heavy and rich without being fishy and oily and, unlike what rumor might imply, they weren't poison.
Elbie's entree was the Long Island Monk Fish with saffron, fennel, and tomato, while I ordered the Crescent Duck Breast with brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds, and mushrooms under a light vinaigrette seasoning. Again, we were both somewhat taken aback at the smallish size of the entrees (the photos don't show it well) but, again, it turned out not to be beneficial. Elbie liked the monkfish more than she liked the duck, but in the end, she summed it up as a little forgettable as a dish. Everything worked well-enough together, but it couldn't stand out as a fish entree that she would rave to friends about. On the other hand, I loved my duck. I would have preferred a crispier skin, but hey, I shouldn't be eating the skin anyway. I thought that the pomegranate was a nice touch and I liked how the seeds would pop little bursts of flavor as you bit into them. I also happen to have loved their contrast with the otherwise bitter brussels sprouts. On a whim we ordered a side dish of Romanesco, which is basically a huge plate of broccoli, bacon, and cheese. So naturally, it was good.
Dessert wasn't initially on the list, but Elbie and I chose to try the Apple Fritters for dessert (and coffee). And they were amazing. Warm little apple-filled doughnuts coated in sugar with fresh whipped cream to spoon on top of at your leisure. You could probably eat these for hours and not even notice, and we held back getting a second round purely out of caloric guilt.
Two appetizers, two entrees, two coffees, a dessert, and three drinks, plus tax and tip totalled about $140.
[ Copyright eateryROW 2012 ]