Land and Sea Restaurant


Visited Friday, June 15, 2018
Location: 20-12 Fair Lawn Avenue, Fair Lawn, NJ
Hours: Open 24 hours, 7 days
Website: landandsearestaurantnj.com

Today we encountered our first true test of our “diner” nomenclature. Dan chanced upon the Land and Sea Restaurant, which is decidedly not the name of a diner. But we perused the menu online and felt certain enough that the place would meet our criteria. And if we had any lingering doubts, the sign in front of the building gives “diner” first billing. Awfully schizophrenic of them.

BUD

DAN

Main Dish

Beef Gyro Pita

Someone had the idea—I think it was one of our loyal readers, but there’s so many of you that I sometimes lose track—that we shouldn’t just choose arbitrarily from the menu but should instead sample whatever dish the diner promotes as their signature item. That would be the best test of a diner’s quality. I see the wisdom in that idea, but also I don’t always want to be handcuffed to, say, a burger when I’d prefer, say, a waffle.

But today I was indecisive, so I looked to the menu for guidance: “Land & Sea’s Famous Pitas.” I’ve never heard of them before now, and I pride myself on staying abreast of pita news and happenings, so they can’t be that famous. I chose the beef gyro. It was a pretty straightforward gyro, not very different from what you could find at a summer carnival. I found the pita bread pleasantly warm and fluffy, and I thought there was a good ratio of meat to shredded lettuce and diced onions and tomatoes. The highlight was the tzatziki, which was stuffed with chunks of (checking Wikipedia for tzatziki ingredients…) cucumber. It was a little tangy and super refreshing.

I award 3.5 burgers not because there was anything wrong with the beef gyro—it was a perfectly agreeable beef gyro—but because I was hoping for some novel twist or unique touch. Otherwise, I don’t know how it could’ve become so famous.

Main Dish

Capri Zesto

Buddy inspired me toward my dinner choice. He was like, Dan, thousands of our readers are hungry [get it] to try our chosen diner’s signature plate. The public is positively clamoring for us to try the like one thing they’re known for, Bud says. So, what can I say? I’m as much of a sucker for pleasing my readers as I am for a gimmick. This place touted a whole separate section on their menu for “Zesto Sandwiches.” This to me screams fun and delicious gimmick. In my mind I’m like, these homies are so confident in their skills that they just make a category titled with an almost CERTAINLY made up name, and don’t even bother explaining what it is. I was like, zesty pesto, right? That’s obviously what it is. These brilliant pioneers made an amalgamation for their sandwich to describe how full of zest and pesto they are.

So here’s the thing…there are nine sandwich entries that fit under the category of “Zesto Sandwiches,” and when you look through the description, not one of them has pesto, and only one uses the word “zesty.” So I guess the point I’m getting at is that I still don’t know what Zesto is.

My sandwich was on pressed ciabatta bread with grilled chicken, peppers, melted mozzarella, and mushrooms. The peppers overpowered the mushrooms so the only time I even remembered they were there were when they fell out of my sandwich because I eat like an absolute slob. The chicken was grilled and had an interesting seasoning. It was a fine sandwich, if a bit average. The side salad is a nice touch if you’re into that kinda thing.

Fries

Crispy, good salt, fine portion size.

Fries

My plate actually didn’t come with fries, and instead sported a Caesar salad, which was an interesting, yet bold decision. I wasn’t really in the mood for the salad so I ate enough of Bud’s fries so I could have something to rate. They were fine. Fresh and crispy. Reminded me of boardwalk fries. Perfectly average.

OH. Important note—a side of honey mustard is A DOLLAR extra! Can you believe the audacity?! The averageness of the fries was going to give them the average score of 2.5, but that honey mustard nonsense knocks it down half a burg.

Dessert

Strawberry Cheesecake
Apple Turnover

I know Dan was especially disappointed in the cheesecake, so I’ll leave the colorful commentary to her. I think it’s enough to say that we’ve had much better desserts.

Also, I notice now that I forgot to photograph the apple turnover. You’re not really missing anything.

Dessert

Strawberry Cheesecake
Apple Turnover

Do you want a cheesecake that is so old that the fork CHIPS away the pieces? Perhaps a stale apple turnover served cold and on a plate with no embellishment?

Yeah? Then do I have a place for you!

So there was a small dessert menu to begin with, which I will never judge. I feel like if you want to take the approach of offering a few selections, and really perfecting them, then I totally support that. This restaurant did just that. They offered a few selections, and perfected them into inedible, dry, stale, cake-shaped lumps.

As I alluded to earlier, we got strawberry cheesecake and an apple turnover. The strawberry cheesecake was dry and flavorless. The strawberries were old and soggy. AND what I found to be the biggest insult—they didn’t put any whipped cream on the side! Can you imagine?! Bud got the apple turnover. You ever go to ShopRite and see those apple turnovers in the pastry cabinet? The ones next to the donuts? Imagine that, on a plate. That’s it. No ice cream on the side, no whipped cream on the side, no heating it up beforehand. Just the most pathetic looking excuse of a turnover you can ever imagine. If I had died before this diner experience (one can only wish), this dessert would have made me TURNOVER in my grave.

Service

Our waitress was a very sweet lady and she got all our orders correct. Those are the only reasons I can award a burger here. We arrived around 6 p.m. on a Friday and there was very little crowd, yet we still sat for lengthy periods without so much as a “want a refill on your drinks?” The food came out slowly, the check came out slowly, and they definitely baked the thoroughly underwhelming cheesecake to order because there’s no other explanation for the delay. The waitress did reveal near the end that she was training a new employee, but all that does for me is shift the fault from her to the diner.

Service

Thank goodness Bud and I have no lives outside of this blog because if we had plans after dinner, we’d have to throw them out the window. Far out the window…out from the Land and into the Sea. Like look…our waitress was very pleasant, and I hesitate to blame the ridiculous wait between every single interaction we had entirely on her. She said she was training another waitress, which made me more sympathetic, but hey Land and Sea, maybe don’t have just one waitress on the clock on a Friday evening during dinner time WHO IS ALSO TRAINING. Between sitting down and paying for the check, our time at the diner clocked at an impressive hour and a half. Between taking away our dinner plates, coming back to ask what we wanted for dessert, and then actually getting our dessert, a half hour had passed.

Value

Ten bucks for a beef gyro with fries is right about what I’d expect. On the other hand, $5.50 for an average-sized slice of below-average-tasting cheesecake is a bit rich.

Value

My Zesto sandwich, served with a side of Caesar salad, totaled a pretty fair $9.95. That seems to be about the going rate for sandwiches of a similar caliber. What isn’t fair is charging an extra $1 for a side of honey mustard, and $5.50 for cheesecake that tasted like actual cheese.

Ambience

There are two main dining areas: a smallish, somewhat cramped room with booths and a bar, and a bigger, brighter back room with individual tables and big windows. We were seated in the latter room next to the window, which I preferred. For most of the meal, we were the only party in that room, and the privacy was nice at first until we began to feel like the waitress had forgotten about us.

Ambience

Perhaps the strangest looking diner I’ve ever been to. There was clearly two…possibly three expansions put onto the diner over the years and there was no real thematic flow between any of the rooms. The main room looks like the typical diner…dessert display, booth seating, and stools by the bar. There’s a room further down that we didn’t get to see too much in but it was pretty closed off from the main room. The room we were seated in was strangely reminiscent of those rooms you go to when your Italian relative throws their 8-year-old a 300-person Holy Communion party (speaking from experience). It was so bizarre and out of place. Everything had an overall white theme and was surrounded by wall-height windows. It was a pretty room, but like Bud said, we were the only ones in the whole section and we felt like the ignored red-headed stepchild the whole night.

OVERALL

The gyro was a couple steps better than a carnival gyro, the fries were above average, and our waitress was nice. I don’t have much more positive to say about Land and Sea. (I’ve also learned that I really hate to give a bad review, but it’s our duty to give the candid, hard-hitting assessments our fans have come to expect.)

OVERALL

If you’re in Fair Lawn and you’re in the area and hankering for a nice but inexpensive dining experience: there’s a Panera around the corner. I hear their soups are nice and fresh. I, unlike Buddy, am not afraid to give a bad review, and will be as unrestrained as my mother is when she insults me. The food was boring. The dessert was gross. The service was laughable. There’s a ton of comparable diners within a 5-mile radius. Try one of those.

 

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2 Replies to “Land and Sea Restaurant”

  1. Finally a bad review. I thought you both were being way too nice. I had lunch there once……..once

  2. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t the best experience. Of course, once again, chocolate is missing from your tasting menu, so, perhaps, you deserved it…

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