142 West 65th St., Upper West Side
Status: Opens to the public tonight.
After a long period of speculation about Jonathan Benno's final destination after his departure from four star palace Per Se, an even longer construction phase where his $20 million Lincoln Center restaurant emerged as an architectural gem, months of Times profiles, and two weeks of friends and family, Lincoln opens to the public tonight.
It's been reported to death, but again, the 411: The restaurant features a humungo open kitchen surrounded by glass walls, a tablecloth-free dining room with large white cushiony leather swivel chairs and windows everywhere. And a wine wall. Price point is $120 a head; food is upscale Italian. The menu has yet to be released but at friends and family lunch yesterday it offered about half a dozen offerings in each category of starters, pastas, seafood, and meats, with four sides.
Expect items like what we sampled yesterday: fresh California burrata with heirloom tomatoes, a terrine of foie gras and sweetbreads with plums, Benno's already heralded version of meat lasagna—served in a perfect circle with spinach pasta—a large lamb chop served alongside a small block of lamb shoulder and Romanesco cauliflower, wonderfully meaty roasted mushrooms, and cod served with littleneck clams and fresh corn. Served as an amuse: creamy arancini balls and fried olives stuffed with sausage. Comparisons to Marea are not off in terms of demographic, price, ambitions, and general genre, but the menu here does not have as great an emphasis on seafood and features an surprisingly rustic take on some Italian dishes, given the setting.
Anyway, she opens tonight. Destination foodies, Upper West Siders, and upper crust Met-goers, please send all early reports to the tipline.