The first review for Jonathan Benno's highly anticipated $20 million Lincoln Center restaurant Lincoln is out. And boy oh boy, it's not pretty. Today Adam Platt awards just one star to the Benno's first solo project, noting that the chef may have excelled at Per Se but "being the captain of your ship is a vastly more challenging and complicated proposition than being first officer, and at this early stage (Lincoln has been open for seven weeks), the kinks, in both the cooking and the overall operation, are evident."
Those kinks include "genial but spotty" service, unexciting food, and mile-high prices. Dishes are "fairly basic," "less than the sum of its parts," "unremarkable," and, the rare compliment, "decently prepared." He writes that "None of the seafood dishes I tried...had the kind of popping freshness you'd expect from a top-shelf restaurant, and the $130 rib eye for two was cut in fat, ham-fisted slabs and devoid of flavor, texture, and any kind of crunchy char." Oof.
Platt concedes that maybe, someday, hopefully Benno will get his footing and turn this giant, glamorous restaurant into the destination it deserves to be. The question now: will Sifton agree?
· The Lincoln Dining Room [NYM]