Since I’m an urban planner, this restaurant review is going to be a layperson’s review in terms of food–hope you don’t mind. After the overwhelming popularity of my preview about the new restaurant at Lincoln Center, I was pretty excited to check out the restaurant for my birthday. My review in one word (or three): hit-or-miss. The restaurant gets its shape from the topsy-turvy curved rooftop lawn just above it, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
The restaurant interior is unique as a result. But I’m not sure the interior decor and spatial design necessarily work. The entrance feels like a condo lobby, with the concierge on the left, an elevator and a staircase downwards just in front of you. The seating is disjointedly separated into three areas–in order to accommodate the see-through kitchen it seems. The best area is probably the bar, which is between the main seating area and the kitchen. With comfortable couches, there’s enough space to have several groups of guests at once.
The cream-colored leather chairs swivel, but because of the arm rests are really awkward to get into. I’m small, but I watched some others struggle to get into the seats. The rug pattern is interesting, mimicking marble tiling down to a delineation of the supposed square “tiles,” but it also felt like my aunt’s house in the ’80s.
As you probably know, the chef is Jonathan Benno, the chef de cuisine from Per Se. I ordered a a tasty cocktail of prosecco and peaches. The bread and accoutrements were . The waiter recommended the special appetizer for the evening, the scallops. My parents reported that it was excellent, although my father remarked that the one scallop did cost us $28. For the main courses, we ordered lamb, veal and a pasta. The veal was a bit dry, despite being ordered medium rare to medium, but the lamb and the pasta was excellent. Please note that “pasta” actually means three pieces of pasta and nice portion of fish. But the birthday dessert was excellent and I have to commend the waiter for pushing me away from the flan towards the blueberry pastry (from Idaho), accompanied by licorice gelato.
But as you can tell, I’m not foodie. I can barely remember what was in the dishes except if I thought they were good or not. I’ll probably just bring people there for drinks and the view in the future though. For more traditional (and consistently good) fare, check out the restaurant in the opera house. Here’s a view of the new tree grove en route to the opera house!
To make reservations for Lincoln, call 212-359-6500.