Glass walls at Lincoln Ristorante
Swivel chairs are usually a mainstay of the office, but at Lincoln Ristorante not only are they surrounding every table but they're covered in white leather. But that's not the first thing you notice. After walking up the LED-flashing staircase on W 65th Street, you'll first notice the clear glass of the building–it's everywhere. Between you and Lincoln Center plaza and between you and the kitchen. There's nowhere to hide, not even the chef. As they showed us to the table, and I alighted in my very own swivel seat. It's hard to resist a few spins back and forth and so, for a few minutes, that's exactly what each of us did.
And yes, we also ate dinner. The menu has much to choose from, perhaps too much. I wanted it all. They offer a well-priced prix fix but it was unanimously decided by everyone at the table that it would be too much food. I started with the verdure d'autunno which was a still-life worthy salad filled with artichokes, sunchokes, cauliflower, radishes, chicories and dressed in an bagna cauda (anchovy) dressing. The greens were gorgeous, speckled radicchio and frothy frisee looked like they had just been plucked from the ground. The salad wasn't overdressed and it was the perfect size. Melissa had an escarole salad with kale and white anchovies that was delicious, salty and tangy. The greens managed a nice crunch. It was however too big and too heavy with dressing–like a Caeser salad you get at your cousins wedding in Florida.
Because the hostess had noted that her absolute favorite dish was the eggplant parmigiana, I made a last-minute decision to order the "small" plate for the table to share. I don't know what your definition of small is but the photo above shows a dish that is not small. It was however decadent, delicious and worth all the calories flattened onto that plate. The eggplant had crispy edges and a tangy tomato finish. I wish I knew how they cut their eggplant so thin.
For my main course I ordered the linguine con granseola (shown below). The linguine glistened with a healthy dose of olive oil and butter and it was perfect, with an al dente bite that bit back. Mixed into the dish was peekytoe crab, pacific sea urchin, basil, green onion and peperoncino. The back and forth between the bottom of the sea and the tops of the earth were amped up surprisingly well by a spicy hit from the peppers. I kept eating beyond the time I knew I should stop.
I loved the dishware. It was classic and elegant with a curling border along the outside that was its only nod to embellishment. The spinning chairs are so comfortable I could have sat there forever. And getting to see Lincoln Center plaza out beyond the table made me feel like I was part of the night, even though dinner was the only show I was seeing.
There were a few hiccups in service that surprised me. A waitress that vanished after taking our wine order, even though she had been informed we were ready to order our meal, wine glasses that had a strong smell of cleaning fluid, and our eggplant starter was whisked away before it was finished. The problems were mostly fixed (bye-bye eggplant) but they still left me with a slight case of the bummers.
I think Lincoln Ristorante is putting out incredible food and I look forward to trying it again. I also think the portions are too big and it's too expensive. An easy solution it seems, trim both back and I'll walk away thinner and richer.