So, this is Lincoln, the undisputed biggest-slash-most ambitious opening this fall. And as such, it has been getting a lot of attention. Here's why: 1) The chef was the most talented free agent on the market in 2010, Per Se's Jonathan Benno. And he's attempting to do Italian food. 2) It's part of the multi-million dollar redesign of Lincoln Center. 3) Diller Scofidio and effing Renfro designed the place, a whopping $20 million project. 4) It's a high end status restaurant opening in season that is still overwhelmed with comfort spots, safe hotel restaurants, food carts, and small Brooklyn outposts.
Meaning, it has the potential to be special and great, or the potential to be flashy, overpriced, overhyped—a restaurant pandering to the monied uptowners and the regulars at the Met.
But, forget that, because it's... spectacular.
The 115 seat restaurant hasn't had proper services yet (officially opens on the 24th), but boy does she look good. The architects get the real credit here, as they're responsible for the bones of the space, that wonderful sloping ceiling with the grass roof, the staircases, the windows everywhere, and the integration into the Lincoln Center compound at large. And it's gorgeous at night.
Inside, the massive 60 by 17 foot open kitchen takes up about 50 percent of the usable restaurant space. It's immaculate, as was the food the team put out at their first party last night—a fashion week shindig for Hearst—risotto, burrata with tomatoes, Parmesan crisps, arancini, olive balls stuffed with sausage, caponata, prawns wrapped in speck. Too bad the fashion folks at the party didn't seem too interested in eating it. Just wait until the food hordes arrive.
Regardless of whether or not Benno hits it out of the park (which he may), it will be a major status restaurant and a necessary inclusion to any big night out at Lincoln Center. Check back for more as the debut on September 24 approaches.
· All Coverage of Lincoln [~ENY~]