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Ai Fiori or Lincoln?

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Is there anyone who's been to both and can weigh in? I'm aware of their differences in cuisine and setting, as well as the background of the chefs and what the critics have said. I'd just appreciate hearing a comparison from those who've dined at both regarding the overall enjoyment of the food and experience (or lack thereof). Thanks!

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Ai Fiori
400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

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  1. I've been to both a few times and like them a lot.

    Ai Fiori, while Italian in concept, seems almost retro-French, kind of like Michael White's take on Mad Men era haute cuisine, with things like lobster veloute, pommes dauphine, truffles, bordelaise, chocolate cremeux.

    At Lincoln, the menu is still evolving, and a few of the pasta dishes might seem Mareaesque or Conviviofied as discussed on other threads. Nevertheless, you'll find some nice surprises on the menu, especially among the appetizers and mains. Desserts are still weak IMO - pleasing but not entirely cohesive yet.

    I love both for their food, goodlooking dining rooms, and friendly service. Prices can be high for dinner, but more reasonable during lunch. Portions are smallish, but then again the preps are quite rich. Defnitely worth a try.

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    Ai Fiori
    400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    2 Replies
      1. re: fm1963

        It's exciting, and a bit maddening, that Lincoln changes its menu so frequently. The mushroom lasagna was great but doesn't seem to be offered anymore. I agree that the desserts still need to catch up with the likes of Marea and Ai Fiori (which is odd considering that Lincoln's pastry chef Richard Capizzi used to be the pastry chef at Per Se).

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        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        Ai Fiori
        400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

      2. i've only been to ai fiori for lunch, but i really enjoyed the pastas, particularly the truffled veal agnelotti and the squid ink cavatelli w/ seafood. white label burger is also darn delicious.

        the executive chef at ai fiori was a sous for morimoto, and worked as a sous for daniel humm @ EMP.

        1. Overall, both places are terrific with dessert being the weakest part at both. I'd say Lincoln has a slight edge. The pastas were definitely more memorable. The space is a little more comfortable. But service wasn't great (though I went early on). Ai Fiori feels a little bit stuffier. The appetizers and entrees were really good quality, but I didn't feel like it made me say, I need to come back here eventually.

          Ai Fiori: http://foodinanutshell.blogspot.com/2...
          Lincoln: http://foodinanutshell.blogspot.com/2...

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          Ai Fiori
          400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

          1. Here's a great review of Ai Fiori from the New York Post.
            http://www.nypost.com/p/lifestyle/foo...

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            Ai Fiori
            400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018