Thanks to a last minute recommendation from fellow chowhounder 'uhockey', we had a surprisingly wonderful and extremely good value Italian brunch experience at Lincoln. The delicious food from this 'non-Michelin star' establishment was a reflection of how high New York's culinary standard is! Such tasty cooking and yet, no Michelin star?! Interesting!!
After first being wowed by the beautiful landscape and quadrangle outside of the restaurant, we entered the modern, open and comfy dining space with an attached glass enclosed open kitchen and was wowed again! Since it was a Saturday, our only option was to select 2 courses from a brunch menu that comprised of Antipasti, Paste and Secondi sections.
Our party chose the following:
INSALATA DI LATTUGA
young lettuces, red wine vinaigrette
LINGUINE ALLE VONGOLE
clams, pancetta, ramps, bread crumbs
REGINETTE VERDI AL RAGU BOLOGNESE
veal, pork beef, parmigiano reggiano
RAVIOLI DI MAIALE CACIO E PEPE
milk fed pork shoulder, pecorino romano, black pepper, milk sauce
scallop, shrimp, clams, mussels, fregola, shellfish broth
ATLANTIC SEA BREAM
swiss chard, cerignola olives, charred lemon vinaigrette
MAIALE E UOVA
Lincoln ham, poached egg, potato apncake, arugula
meyer lemon curd,butter shortbread crust, vanilla whipped cream
Without hesitation, the biggest praise has to go to the luscious CACCIUCCO. Though sans Langoustine, this seafood soup was hands down better tasting and more flavourful than the tame Adriatic seafood soup I had at Marea. The dense shellfish/lobster 'concentrate' with a slight spicy kick was absolutely awesome! Also, unlike Marea, which overcooked the bass, all of Lincoln's seafood including the flounder, were perfectly cooked!
The Linguine alle Vongole was another delicious wonder. The interesting rendition by the chef of this Italian classic was further elevated by the addition of the crunchy breadcrumbs. A lovely textural feel! IMO, a slightly less oily finish would make the dish even more enjoyable.
The Ragu Bolognese was another winner. It would be interesting if one can have a side-by-side tasting with the Babbo's version. The latter had been my favourite up to now.
The remaining of our dishes, though not all hands down winners, were beautifully and precisely prepared and presented. Dishes like the Lincoln ham, though tasty, was a little bit bland. An accompanied sauce would render the dish more appealing. However at $32 for 2 courses, I am not rushing to complain!
By the way, both desserts were very delicious. However, they were both trumped by the 'home-made Ferrero Rocher' like chocolate gem of the petite fours.
After the meal, I have to follow chowhounder uhockey's lead by signing up for the "Pro-Lincoln - Con-Marea" club!!