Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana

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

My husband and I recently read some reviews giving Lanny’s very high praise and decided to stop in for lunch last week. We did make day-of reservations, but found that for lunch, you are probably ok just dropping in. (In the evening, I would highly recommend them, however, because for Fort Worth, this place is cozy!)

Lanny’s is the creation of Lanny P. Lancarte II, a Fort Worth native and great-grandson of the legendary Joe T. Garcia. His culinary studies took him through Mexico and to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. His restaurant, which opened in 2005, serves dishes that combine traditional and haute elements of Mexican cuisine.

From the outside, Lanny’s is easy to miss, making it a hidden local favorite. There is currently a bit of construction on 7th right around the area, and the building and parking lot are on the small side. But I loved the cozy atmosphere once inside. Crisp white linens, comfortable brown leather seating, dark wood and soft curtain dividers make for a modern yet warm dining room. The bungalow-style patio is especially inviting, though incredibly small (read: intimate). Can you say romantic?

The day we showed up, the kitchen was out of a few dishes, but they were quick to offer several tasty substitutions.

I started with the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Citrus-Laced Shrimp, a luxuriously smooth and brightly flavored soup with the color of a perfectly vine-ripened tomato. The drizzle of olive oil and hint of citrus were in perfect balance and a wonderful respite for a hot Texas day. Although the solo shrimp was almost underdone for my taste, it was still amazingly fresh and delicate.

My husband ordered a Sopa Azteca, along the lines of a traditional tortilla soup and the special soup of the day, which he described as almost a mole without the chocolate flavor–smoky and rich dark red broth, with a hardiness and great depth of flavor and tender shreds of chicken breast.

For our main course, we both opted for cemitas, a traditional sandwich from Puebla, Mexico. Although the sandwich is similar to a Mexican torta, there are a couple of notable differences. The most obvious is the type of bread used: a fluffy egg bread roll with a wonderfully firm crust and rich but surprisingly airy interior.

These sandwiches have gained recent popularity among street vendors in New York City and traditionally include beef milanesa, a thinly-pounded flank steak that is breaded and pan-fried. Traditional accompaniments include panela cheese, avocado, onion and salsa roja.

At Lanny’s I ordered the Prime Tenderloin Cemita served with Avocado, Caramelized Onion, Maytag Blue Cheese, and Horseradish Crème Fraiche. It was divine! Tender and full-flavored beef with the gentle heat of the horseradish tamed by the cream and the pungent (but not overly so) bite of blue cheese. The avocado slices were bright green and perfectly ripe. My husband ordered Chicken Milanesa with Roasted Red Pepper Pico Sauce and Gruyere. The milanesa was thin, not greasy with just the right amount of breading, and the sauce was slightly smoky and not overly spicy. Both were served with fresh-cut, stacked log french fries.

Expect New York prices ($50+ lunch for two) and moderately-sized dishes. The sandwiches were filling enough that both my husbsnd and I took the other half home with us to eat for dinner (and we did!).

Other lunch items to try include: Roasted Poblano and Asparagus Soup with Duck Confit; Chile Rubbed Chicken Breast Salad with Queso Manchego, Grapes, Walnuts,and White Balsamic Green Onion Vinagrette; and Roulade of Chicken, with Chile Poblano, Queso Panella and Serrano Ham, and Sauteed Spinach.

Service was attentive and not intrusive. The wine list is extensive and a chef tasting menu is offered for dinner. We definitely plan to make our next visit soon and hopefully dinner on the patio! This definitely makes my current top 3 restaurants in Fort Worth. Keep it up!

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