51 Lincoln in Newton Highlands
I had a birthday dinner a week ago at 51 Lincoln. I had not been since it was Le Soir. What a disappointment. I did my research and the feed back was mostly good so off we went with a party of 8.
It was on a Thursday night, so we asked to be seated alone downstairs to avoid noise. We were seated upstairs in the middle of a very crowded dining room. It was restaurant week, but we had informed them we would be using the regular menu.
Bottom line - 3,5 very loud hours after our 7 p.m. arrival - consistently oversalted food (I like salt) and very slow service - I got a bill for almost $700. The desserts were almost inedible.
I will not be going back - lackluster food, bad service, bad atmosphere - big bill. No thanks. Too bad I liked Le Soir.
I have posted about this place before. Since it is in my neigborhood, I would like to support it. However, I have had very mixed experiences. Sometimes the food is very good, sometimes, mediocre, and other times inedible due to oversalting or overcooking. IMO, the most consistant, excellent dish is the pasta Bolognese. The room can be very noisy, which some diners don't mind.
Made it out to 51 Lincoln for a Sunday night dinner. Nicely appointed room and even more nicely appointed menus. Ostrich Leather, I think. Wait staff was pleasant, just not very experienced.
We started with the Watermelon Steak and a half portion of the Rigatoni Pasta Emulsified with Parmesan & Butter. Well, we ordered the Rigatoni Pasta Emulsified with Parmesan & Butter but received the Chef's Famous Rigatoni Bolognese instead. The rigatoni was very good --- perfectly cooked --- but although I didn't say anything I was surprised the waitress didn't inquire why I left all the Bolognese sauce on the plate.
The Watermelon Steak was the most inventive and creative dish there, and also the most enjoyable. Hard to describe --- it almost didn't taste of watermelon at all, but had the taste of texture of nothing that I've had before. I liked this a lot.
Mains were okay, but less successful. My DC's Salmon was well cooked, but the clams were so strongly flavored that every bite of fish tasted more of clams than salmon. My brick chicken was fine, but if there was actually a brick involved it was only to crisp the skin, not flatten the meat. The dark meat was flavorful, but once the chicken jus ran out, there was no flavor left in the undercooked portion of tasteless white meat. The accompanying cabbage was boring, but the Johnny Cake was terrific.
Polenta Fries were over-fried, and the accompanying truffle parmesan dip was inedibly rich. The green beans, however, were terrific. They had a good crispness to them and a flavorfully spicy chili jam.
The Wild Maine Blueberry & Currant Tart was fine, although with an odd crust. The peach sorbet was great, and a large portion.
A request for a non-alcoholic cocktail was met with zero creativity --- orange juice and cranberry juice mixed together.
Anyway, the watermelon steak and the green beans were great. Everything else was fine, but not so special. Was it all worth $65/person (including tax and tip) and the drive from Boston? No. We should have stayed in the city. If you're already in Newton? Maybe, but I would still take a ride into the city. Maybe the chef's choice three-course $35 prix fixe is the right way to go.
51 Lincoln Street, Newton, MA 02461
I also have found 51 Lincoln to be a scam frankly... For the quality of the food and the prices they charge. I also thought the service was pretty horrid, even rude at times. I was there recently with a big group and they were not very accommodating to say the least. The owner comes off as very arrogant in my opinion
I had dinner there last evening and our experience was wonderful. Service was great, food and cocktails were delicious-even the vegetarian plate got good reviews. The fan favorite at the table were the polenta fries. Didn't have dessert, so I can't speak to that, but everyone at the table last night is excited to return.
I enjoyed Le soir as well. I have only eaten at 51 Lincoln once and found it to be just average. I know that the chef has quite a fine reputation and I went based on that. I had the famous watermelon steak that I found to be weird. I like weird but the texture and flavor were not right for me. I had an apple dessert that was not very good. I was surprised that the food was not as good as I expected. My parents on the other hand have enjoyed their meals there.
$700 for 8 people is a good value when this place is on its game. I've had much better experiences with the food, and I like the noisy, lively atmosphere of the main dining room.
I've also been seated downstairs (once) and hated the place. That room was cheap-looking, ugly. Service suffered horribly. It's miles away from the kitchen, down a long staircase and through a warren of a basement. Servers disappear for 20 minutes at a stretch just walking to and fro; the badness is not even their fault. Has anyone dined in that stupid "wine room" lately? I really enjoy Fournier's work as a chef, but that cellar room is a horrific idea.