One of my strategies toÂ eating around New York on an indispensible budgetÂ is to do lunch well – especially if the dinner entrees of a desired restaurantÂ tend to hit a higher price point. Lincoln, however, was not to fall under that game plan. Sam Kim said, “It’s THE opening of Fall .” So I secured a reservation three weeks prior to opening and four before I boarded for JFK. It is a special place that, upon approach and even closer look, was designed to seamlessly blend into Lincoln Center. It is successful, indeed – etymologically and aesthetically, inside and out. It’s a masterpieceÂ complete with a sloped,Â grass-coveredÂ roof that doubles as a lawn.
I had two dinner companions, and we all agreed that the feel of the space was uniquely pleasant. Beautiful.Â “It’s like how an airport is supposed to feel,” my friend Robbie said. The pristine, glass-encased kitchen highlighted the excellent service we received all night in an impeccably casual, yet elegant,Â ambiance. Through theÂ glass walls,Â I admired Jonathan Benno – previously Chef de CuisineÂ at Per Se forÂ 6 years – as he sent out each dish. The servers’ pace was expedient but never hurried.
We were artfully presented with thin crisps – seasoned with things delightful and elusive to my memory – before a perfect selection of three varieties of bread. The butter, made with 83% Vermont buttercream, was some of the best I have ever had. Our appetizer, a perfectly seared sea scallop with almonds and sunchoke smear, was a delicious departure and made me excited for more.