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The Blogosphere's Insta-Judgement on Four Day-Old Lincoln

New, 13 comments
Krieger, 9/24/10

Lincoln, Jonathan Benno's long awaited debut at Lincoln Center, opened to the public on Friday. And, of course, by Saturday there were already full reviews on blogs across the city. Despite the restaurant's attempt at a photography ban within the restaurant, it was wishful thinking (or reverse psychology marketing ploy?) Food porn abounds—shaky shots of eggplant parm, a look at the foie gras and sweetbread terrine, a close up shot of some arancini!

So, for the most part, the people seem pleased with the first weekend. Some are wowed, some not. Some are bored senseless. Once more diners are able to make the trip uptown and the critics wait through what is becoming a shorter and shorter grace period, there will be more to parse through. For now, the immediate takes:

The Beautiful Food News: Golden Eats runs a bunch of food porn shots and offers the following: "The food was, as you'll see, beautiful, and pricing was comparable to other high end spots throughout the city (the previously reported approximations of $120/pp are about right). I will say though that the menu (found here) is much more versatile than typical Italian can sometimes permit – and the thought that this spot is meant to compete directly with Marea is, in my opinion, askew." [Golden Eats]

The Not Outstanding News: Skinny Critic offers a long run down, with food porn, of her meal, and has these parting words: "Overall I think Lincoln has potential and if nothing else will be filled with tourists going to Lincoln Center and foodies wanting to see what Benno is up to. However with very stiff competition like Marea just a few blocks away Benno will need to be on his game. Where nothing was bad?per se, nothing really stood out. A day later there is nothing that I remember being overzealous about and nothing that I am dying to have again." [Skinny Critic]

The On Par with Marea News: This blogger goes on night one and decides it's not as good as Per Se but on the same footing as Marea: "I was not disappointed, as the dishes we got ranged from merely very good to really fantastic...The one hiccup in the service for the night was that my Negroni was delayed for some time, which was apparently due to me being the first to order something using the apertif so it had to be fetched from a basement somewhere...I started with I think is my new favorite foie gras dish, perhaps my new favorite anything dish, the "Terrina di Fegato Grasso, Coniglio e Animelle", or Foie Gras, Rabbit and Sweetbread Terrine with Plums and Lettuces. This was in fact the highlight of the night for me. It had luscious flavors and very pleasant contrasting textures including nicely crunchy large grains of salt...I got the Rigati with crab, sea urchin, peperoncino, and sea beans. This was a delightful dish, redolent of the far the menu does not rise to the level if Benno's cooking at per se, but I also don't think it intends to with its much lower price point and al a carte format catering to theater diners. I'd compare it favorably to White's Marea." [Wordsmithing Pantagruel]

The Good, Not Great News: From the tipline: "Went to Lincoln over the weekend, and while the restaurant is beautiful, the service impeccable, and everything was cooked almost perfectly (save some overcooked clams in my cod dish), there was nothing exciting here. It was fine, well made expensive food, but with the competition in this city, I want an OMG moment if I'm paying that much." [EaterWire]

The Superb News: An eGulleter on his opening weekend meal: "I had a superb meal at Lincoln last night. I didn't notice a tasting menu listed on the menu, though they mentioned that one would appear shortly. The scallops, agnolotti, and veal chop were perfectly prepared and delicious. The clementine sorbet and the coffee desert were also delicious. I had prosecco and a bottle of 2006 trebbiano d'amburuzzo from Emilio Pepe that went extremely well with the food. The service was exceptional as well." [eG]

The Boring News: One Chowhounder was not impressed: "...just got back from dinner at Lincoln. there is no there THERE. boring food. i call it cafeteria luxe. paid $500 for two people. when i pay that kind of money, it better be food that i can't make at home. fortunate to live in berkeley, ca where his ingredients are pretty much available just about all year round. nothing that was served wowed me." [CH]

The Friends and Family Rave: This one doesn't count because this person went to a friends and family dinner. But we'll peruse her thoughts anyway: "Water service: "We have an amazing water filtration system that is so good we don't offer bottled still or sparkling water." The amazing water is served in clear wine-shaped bottles set on silver stainless coasters that are reminiscent of the original Four Seasons. Our waiter told us that all staff had a two-hour training session on the water alone, which included tastings and food pairings. Wow...Food: Italian modern. Menu (for now) is divided into Antipasti, Primi, Pesce, Carne and Piccoli Piatti (vegetables). All the pasta is homemade except for the spaghetti, from Martelli, which has a pretty good pedigree. I started with the Rigati con Granscola; it was perfectly cooked with a generous amount of sea urchin and an inviting crunchy salinity from sea beans. This dish could give Marea's sea urchin pasta a run for its money (although I wouldn't mind a side-by-side tasting of the two). We shared the Bistecca alla Fiorentina per Due, which was brought to us whole at tableside and then brought back again carved perfectly. Flanking the meat was a marrow bone containing a pudding made from bone marrow, and two tiny cipollini agro dolce. Outstanding." [212/Blog]


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142 West 65th St., New York, NY