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Lincoln Ristorante - Need soothing words to calm me down!!

For my last 'chow-spot' in my upcoming trip to your great city, I have taken up the suggestion of fellow chowhounder 'uhockey', by making a reservation at 'Lincoln'. However, the ease ( 5 days advance ) with which I manage to secure a table for 4 on a Saturday at this supposedly - 'better than the over-rated Marea' establishment turned on a few warning lights in my head!
Am I over-reacting? Did I make the right choice?! The food from the kitchen headed by an ex-Per Se/French Laundry Chef de Cuisine should be more than acceptable?! No??!!
Any recent positive experiences from fellow chowhounders to calm me down??!!

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  1. What time is your reservation on Saturday?

    Many people don't go to that neighborhood unless they are specifically going to see a show at Lincoln Center, in which case, they may be dining early (pre-show) or late (post-show) or have chosen to dine more inexpensively (at one of the Boulud places across the street).

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      This is a very very good point - when I ate there it was during Fashion Week and the place was absolutely JAMMED at 5:30 but damned near empty by 7:00ish as everyone was off to the various shows and events.


    2. I really enjoy Lincoln. I don't enjoy Marea. Does that help?

      Is your only concern that you got a reservation? If so, you should relax. A lot.

      8 Replies
      1. re: nmprisons

        Pretty much.

        I'm not sure why being able to get a reservation somewhere is a bad thing - Corton regularly has open slots and I'd eat there over anywhere in New York aside from Per Se if price were no object.


        1. re: uhockey

          Thank you!!! Will report back with photos and all....!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            I would never eat at a restaurant that I can get a reservation at. That's crazy.

            1. re: tpigeon

              What are you looking for? If its overly rich, unimaginative, fancied-up International-Italian-American food, this is your place. For what its worth, although Marea is in the same general category described above, it is better. I've eaten things at Marea I can honestly call delicious. The very best thing I've ever eaten at Lincoln "Ristorante" is the baby lettuce salad, which is perfectly dressed and simple and just right. Everything else I've tried on the menu is a bomb. Particularly the $16 side dish of eggplant parmesian which I ordered thinking that a world-class chef at a serious ristorante would have a chowishly scrumptous trick up his sleeve. Turns out the sleeveless chef serves up a heavy cheese-bomb of a baked eggplant parm with less delicacy and flavor than a neighborhood pizzeria. There are things about the restaurant I like, like the architecture, the service, and the generally sophisticated vibe. But the food is the opposite of what you might get in Italy. The motherland serves up astoundingly delicious meals using a formula of simple recipes, perfect execution, and the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Lincoln is heavy and rich, boring and bland. If you want great Italy-style Italian food in that neighborhood, Salumeria Rossi is probably the best Italian restaurant in the city at the moment, IMO.

              1. re: Skillet Licker

                <<Salumeria Rossi is probably the best Italian restaurant in the city at the moment, IMO.>>

                Interesting, but that's analogous to saying that Balthazar is the best French restaurant in the city. It's all good though.

                The only problem with Lincoln is occasional oversalting but otherwise it's comparable in quality to other high end Italian restaurants like Marea and Scarpetta, The menu changes frequently but I'd recommend the tripe, octopus, quail, pork shoulder ravioli, roasted mushrooms, and the duck. Their specials are usually very good.

                1. re: H Manning

                  I second the ravioli's. Indeed, any o the filled pastas are quite good.

                2. re: Skillet Licker

                  It's been a while for me but this was my last review of Lincoln:

                  As far as ease of reservations go, it's a combination of factors already mentioned here:
                  The restaurant is huge. They can do over 300 covers in one night.
                  Most of their business is pre- and post- theater/show.

                  As far as "But the food is the opposite of what you might get in Italy" is concerned, that's not what it's aiming to do. My guess is Charles is not coming to NYC to try to eat "authentic" food from Italy.

                  The starters tend to be very good examples of the balance in dishes that exemplify Per Se. As nmprisons said, the filled pastas are excellent. I also remember we loved a lamb porterhouse.

                  Like I said, they can do almost 300 covers a night, so I would make sure to emphasize that you are there for a special occasion meal experience, perhaps by doing a tasting menu.

            2. re: uhockey

              It also is not hard to get reservations at Ai Fiori, because it's so big.

          2. This question/comment makes me think of the old Groucho Marx lines: I won't belong to any organization that would have me as a member.

            One of our dinners at Per Se was a result of a reservation we got for a Saturday evening just 3 days before we wanted to dine there so...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Spiritchaser

              It makes me think of the wondrously-Zen Yogi Berra line, related to a particularly popular restaurant at the time: "nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

              I expect I'll return to Lincoln one day, but I had such a bad experience with a maitre d' sporting a snootful of attitude on my last visit that I'm not inclined to go there again very soon.

            2. We went for the first time a few months ago at an off hour. We had a wonderful experience food and servicewise. I would not hesitate to return.

              1. I like Lincoln a lot. But DO NOT go there expecting food anywhere near the level of Per Se or French Laundry. It is NOT that level of restaurant (nor does it try to be).

                I think it's easy to get 8 or 9 o'clock reservations at Lincoln for the reasons people have stated: it mainly caters to people going to Lincoln Center. It hasn't taken off as an independent destination. I don't know why -- I certainly think it deserved to. I guess it's because (a) people wrongly assumed, based on the participation of Chef Benno, that it was going to be on the level of Per Se, and were disappointed when it wasn't, and (b) the restaurant got what I think was an unfair reputation for being expensive when it opened.

                For the very little it's worth, though, I much prefer Lincoln to Marea.

                17 Replies
                1. re: Sneakeater

                  ...and Charles, for what it is worth, I've never met Sneakeater, but I trust his opinions. :-)


                  1. re: uhockey

                    I had lunch there with a good friend during Rest Week a couple of months ago, we both thought the food was very good and the service couldn't have been nicer. Really enjoyed all our courses. Thought the place was pretty cool too. On a nice day you will almost feel like you are dining outside.

                    1. re: uhockey

                      I have met Sneakeater, and I still trust his opinions! :)) And, btw, I agree with everythiing he said, including preferring Lincoln to Marea -- and by the proverbial country mile.

                      Our first time at Lincoln was after a concert mid-week around 10 p.m. We were only one of two tables in the dining room, which didn't bother us at all. Chef Benno was in the kitchen. I had a view from my seat and noticed that he personally plated our main course. (We both chose chicken). He also sent out an extra course for no apparent reason (well, maybe because I was taking photos?) -- the eggplant. It and all the rest of the food were delicious. Our second time there on a Saturday evening, the dining room was full. Chef Benno was not in the house. (Our server told us Benno and his wife had just had a baby, and he was taking some family time.) The food was every bit as good as when he was there. Obviously, he's got a great team.


                      1. re: RGR

                        ...it shocks me how Marea continues to net 2* when so many people I trust were vastly underwhelmed.


                        1. re: uhockey

                          I will say that the pastas we had were outstanding though I wasn't exactly thrilled when I was served a very dry piece of fish. Despite the latter offense, it is possible to have a very good meal there. However, my antipathy towards Marea goes beyond what's on the plate to other issues.


                          1. re: RGR

                            I generally dislike places that are or try to be "hip," but my main gripe with Marea is the same as RGR's: If you run a seafood restaurant, you have to be able to cook fish. They consistently fail to do that well.

                            1. re: nmprisons

                              To be fair, when we had the whole baked branzino during our second dinner there, it was cooked perfectly. Still, there was no excuse for the dried out fish -- especially, as you said, at a seafood restaurant. And especially one of Marea's supposed caliber. I should have sent it back and am still annoyed with myself for not doing so.


                    2. re: Sneakeater

                      What about compared to Ai Fiori?

                      1. re: Pan

                        I realize your question is directed at Sneakeater, but....

                        I think the food at Ai Fiori and Lincoln is equal in quality and deliciousness. However, I prefer the ambiance at Ai Fiori.


                        1. re: RGR

                          I respect your opinion, too. :-)

                          1. re: Pan

                            Thanks, Pan! Right back at ya! :)

                        2. re: Pan

                          I like Roz and respect her opinions, but I feel Lincoln executes on a higher level than Ai Fiori and given the option to watch the "fishtank" kitchen at Lincoln I'd choose it 9 times out of 10.

                          The bread basket and dessert is superior at Ai Fiori, however.

                          I will note, however, that I ate at Lincoln solo before the Interpol show at RCMH and I ate at Ai Fiori with RGR, MR. RGR, and Steakrules so I probably wouldn't have been paying as much attention to the action in the kitchen if dining with friends.


                          1. re: uhockey

                            uhockey, I value our friendship, and the respect for each other's differing opinons goes without saying. :)

                            The meal Mr. R. and I had at Ai Fiori a couple of months ago with Chef de Cuisine P.J. Calpa in charge of the kitchen was, I think, better than the meal we shared with you and steakrules when Chris Jaekel was there.

                            I've had one so-so dessert at Lincoln and one that was really delicious. As for Pastry
                            Chef Robert Truitt's dessert as Ai Fiori, they are miles better than some of the horrible things he created when he was at Corton. The only Ai Fiori dessert I didn't care for was his Baba au Rhum, which I thought was leaden and very weak in the rum department.


                            1. re: RGR

                              Lincoln vs Ai Fiori is a tough debate. I'm a huge Michael White fan and Benno was very impressive as well. Both are great in my opinion. Two of the top Italian restaurants in the city and I thoroughly enjoyed both of my meals there. Did not experience a bad dish at either. I did enjoy my pasta dish as Ai Fiori better than Lincoln. However, Lincoln's gnocchi side dish was incredible. The mains were both were impeccably prepared, but Lincoln's duck prep was one of the top 3 I have ever had.

                              I will say that I prefer the atmosphere at Lincoln with the open kitchen and the views of Lincoln Center. It just felt more exciting and welcoming to me. You can't go wrong with either in my honest opinion.

                            2. re: uhockey

                              I agree with uhockey.

                              I think Lincoln's food is better conceived and better prepared than A Fiori's.

                              I find the food at A Fiori to be too heavy (while pretending to be light). I think the dishes tend to be too complicated, as if they're trying to prove something. I think the food at Lincoln is much finer.

                              1. re: Sneakeater

                                It'll be interesting to see how I react. I have really enjoyed the complexity of the food at Ai Fiori - always a pleasant surprise ingredient that wasn't mentioned in the menu description.

                        3. I ate at Lincoln last year and absolutely loved it. I may even go out on a limb and say that from top to bottom it was one of the top 5 dining experiences I had all year. Their menu changes seasonally and you will be able to dine there today and go back in 2 weeks and have a totally different dinner, which is something I love. But no doubt they have incredibly delicious food in a wonderfully beautiful setting.

                          If someone asked me what my top Italian restaurants are I would be hard pressed to disclude Lincoln.

                          Here is my review from last summer.

                          Terrific restaurant in Lincoln Center.

                          Definitely a great new addition to the dining scene and one that fills the void left by Convivio and Alto's closures.

                          The restaurant itself is really beautiful and in a prime location. I love the open kitchen and think other restaurants should adopt this practice. You are entertained throughout the meal watching and listening to the chef at work and yes Benno was in the kitchen. And that kitchen is run like a well oiled machine. No kitchen nightmares rendition here- everything is civil, quiet, and all business.

                          The service was really top notch and the pacing of the meal was on point. Onto the food. I decided to go with the following:

                          Appetizer- Soft shell crab. This was an A+ for the soft shell crab. It was enormous, perfectly fried crispy but not too heavy in the batter, and succulent. One of the best I have had and rivaled the soft shells I have in New Orleans. Not sure how they found puppies this big! The pickled veggies were just ok and merely were just garnish.

                          Pasta- Rigate con granchio, sea urchin, orange, and chiles B. I would have loved if there were more crab in this. They used peekytoe crab instead of lump so it was sparingly dispersed throughout. I would have preferred to get crab in every bite which I did not. Also, the pasta was overcooked and not really all that al dente which I would have preferred. The rigate are like curled macaroni and lend well to the sauce because they are able to absorb it in their nooks and crannies. Definitely could taste the heat from the chiles, but I didn't send any orange. Still, it was a tasty dish and a good mid course before my main.

                          Entree- Duck with cherries, turnips, and lamb's quarter A+. A definite standout and one of the best duck preps I have tried. Based on pure preparation and doneness it may have been the most spot on duck I've ever eaten. Portion size was very large, which can sometimes be a problem with duck. The duck confit had a nice crusty crisp skin and ultra juicy meat that pulled right off the bone. The duck breast was more like a duck steak and it was just one slab of nicely cooked rare duck. The cherries and turnips were really the perfect combo and the whole dish was wonderful.

                          Sides- Gnocchi with morels (spugnole) and melanzana pramigiana A+. Both were terrific, especially the gnocchi. These may have been the best gnocchi I have had and if not definitely one of my favorites. The gnocchi were so soft, pillowy, fluffy that I could have been fooled into thinking they were made with ricotta instead of potato. However, upon tasting you get that potato flavor. The morels were exquisite and the buttery sauce was orgasmic. I couldn't leave without trying their eggplant parm being an Italian boy and it did not disappoint. Not as good as mom's of course, but still a great rendition of this Italian classic.

                          Dessert- The gelatos were terrific. Spumoni, strawberry, and stracciatella.

                          Overall, I loved Lincoln and will definitely return.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: steakrules85

                            Ugh, that duck sounds SICK. I might have to go to Lincoln just to get that. I absolutely love duck with cherries, a very classic combo but it's surprisingly hard to find in NYC.

                            1. re: uwsister

                              It was sick but like I said their menu changes often. The duck is not on the current menu.

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                Go ahead, rain on my parade!

                                Just kidding :) Thanks for letting me know. Perhaps they'll put it back on the menu sometime.

                          2. Marea and Lincoln are more of the same. Over-priced, pretentious tourist traps. Try Boulud Sud instead. Leaves Marea and Lincoln in the dust.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: bubbleandsqueak

                              Please explain how they are over-priced tourist traps compared to a restaurant bearing the name of a celebrity chef. I'm confused, and that is in the setting of me actually enjoying most of Boulud's restaurants.

                              Also, looking at the menus, the prices are quite comparable.


                              1. re: uhockey

                                Shoot, I wanted to say precisely the same thing, but you said it first.

                                1. re: nmprisons

                                  Boulud Sud came to mind because it is in the same area and caters to a crowd which is part foodie, part tourist but definitely has a neighborhood feel, whereas Marea and the Lincoln, to me, feel purely foodie/tourist. I would also choose A Voce Columbus over the Lincoln, for the same reasons. The food is equally good and the prices are equivalent but I simply prefer the atmosphere. However, most of my favorite restaurants in NYC do not bear the name of a celebrity chef, precisely because most celebrity chefs are not in the kitchen. But that is a different discusion altogether.

                            2. I dined there last year and loved it. Jonathan Benno rocks. The dining room is incredible, $20M buildout. It was a memorable dinner in terms of service, quality of food, and ambiance. Here's my review from last August:

                              Named by GQ Magazine as the Best New Restaurant In America in 2010, The Lincoln is a serious new-school Italian standout attached to the magnanimous Lincoln Center complex. At the helm is Jonathan Benno of Per Se and French Laundry fame, also named The World’s Most Influential Chef in 2010 by Epicurious.

                              Approaching the restaurant’s main entrance on West 65th Street, the first thing that grabs us is the jaw dropping design of the floor-to-ceiling glass exterior of the building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro at a reported cost of $20 million. Beautiful, a massive 2-story structure, we weren’t even sure this could be the restaurant since, at that scale, it could just be another building within the Lincoln Center complex.

                              Time to test the seating service. We split up and my dining companion goes in first, I wait on the sidewalk for a few minutes, then follow. At the ground floor entrance I am greeted by a lone maître d’ in a stark foyer who sends me up the stairs to the second maître d’ desk at the entrance to the principal dining room. I say that I am there for my reservation and they tell me my guest has already arrived and is at the bar. One of the impeccably dressed maître d’s then walks me to the bar to show me exactly where my fellow diner is sitting – nice touch, didn’t have to do that. We pass the open-air kitchen and I get a glance at Mr. Benno running the show, through a large aquarium-like window.

                              At the bar, we are seated in comfortable chairs overlooking the kitchen with the cavernous space of the main dining room behind us. The ever-curving wood-paneled ceiling gives way to the glass walls that surround us on all sides, overlooking the square in Lincoln Center with it’s reflecting pools and sculptures. Large vases contain fresh seasonal flowers and plants, there are large hollow columns stretching all the way up to the 25-ft ceilings, filled with stacks of illuminated wine bottles. The bartender is all about service, explaining the intricate cocktails and the mix & match Negroni game they have – you get to choose, multiple choice style, the 3 ingredients for your Negroni from a selection of niche liqueur options. The bartender even mixes a few versions and gives us tiny tastes before we make our decision. Brilliant. A truly consultative approach to bartending. The Charbay Orange and soda I order is a large honest pour.

                              We watch a parade of 10 servers pass by in single file line to plate a large table at the exact same time. Impressive. We strike up a conversation with the bartender about Mr. Benno and his exploits at Per Se. Knowing well that Per Se is one of the only Michelin 3-stars in NYC, I naively ask “isn’t pair-see a Michelin star?”. The bartender responds graciously that yes, Per Se is in fact a Michelin 3-star and that Mr. Benno left Keller’s side to take on The Lincoln project. Cool, good attitude, didn’t make me look foolish in front of my dinner companion. Check.

                              We are seated at a perfect corner table and the bar tab is transferred to the table. Spacing is god with about 1.5 table-lengths in between each table. An expert service team immediately begins the service. An amuse-bouche of a salty tapenade served on bread crisps materializes in front of us. The lackluster breadbasket is filled with slices of whole grain, pizza, white and breadsticks. The well-spoken and elegant lead server walks us through the menu defining every ingredient with precision and efficiency. I naively ask if “guh-noo-dee” (gnudi) is some sort of meat, the server doesn’t skip a beat and politely explains that it is a pasta, without saying the word again correctly – once again, gracious and polite, he could have gasped and been pretentious about it. Cool. We order our food, which is plated simultaneously in perfect timing and sequence.

                              The antipasti of swordfish belly, watermelon and radicchio ($16) is a serene exercise in juxtaposition with lovely sweet bites of fresh watermelon wrestling with the mild fishiness of the flawless swordfish and large chunks of sea salt interspersed in between sucrine lettuce. It has a rustic feel with the stunning color of the chicory giving way to the lightly seasoned curls of swordfish flesh, and an understated tang of vinegar snaps the palate to attention. Absolutely kickass for the summer.

                              The softshell crab with giardiniera and emulsione al limone and red mustard cress ($22) is a little less accomplished – the fried crab is not too oily but does have a certain toughness, albeit being fresh and of high quality. The surrounding sauce is too much akin to a standard mayonnaise or tartar and could be more creative for the price and venue, but the giardiniera is refined and balanced and the well-presented pickled cauliflower adds a nice vinegary zap to the ensemble.

                              The gnudi di ricotta e verdure d’estate ($20) is elegant and wholesome. 7 golfball-sized gnudi are served in a green vegetable puree with snap peas and other summer vegetables lightly placed on top. The consistency is excellent and satisfying, the portion is just right. Sticks to your ribs but doesn’t prevent you from proceeding to your next course.

                              The burrata ($20) is clean and fresh with crisp celery and cherry heirloom tomatoes acting as a vehicle for the burrata, which was unfortunately too small in proportion, especially for the steep price. It is also plated too hot. The peas and black pepper swim in a buttery sauce that is not too overpowering, salty for sure but we’re loving that contrast to the sweetness once again.

                              Entrees. The striped bass with summer squash, basil, and sale di pignoli ($28) is perfection. The skin is crispy and salted, and the sublime basil puree is subtle and almost spinach-ey. The roasted summer squash tastes like it was picked out of the garden minutes ago. Whaaaaaat.

                              The lamb loin chop with “fairy tale” eggplant, artichokes and sugo d’agnelo ($36) is exquisitely prepared, although there isn’t much meat on the bone so this doesn’t appear to be the most copious of dishes on the menu. The eggplant and artichokes are incredibly fresh once again. This is a perfect dish for sometime carnivores who don’t want to load up on a large quantity of meat, but savor a high-quality cut every now and then.

                              We opt out of desert and are instead served a complimentary sweet plate of nougat wrapped in caramel which is nutty and buttery and delicious. The biscotti has an almost shortbread consistency and lacks the crisp that we want. The mini chocolate cupcakes are a bit too dry, perhaps flourless? No real complaints though, it’s free and the very small portions make sense after the massive meal, so all good.

                              All in all, this 3-hour marathon is perfectly conceived, served, and enveloped by one of the most impressive dining rooms we’ve seen in New York City in recent memory. The service works like a well-oiled team and is very impressive. The prices are quite high and this is definitely a special-occasion spot. It’s proximity to Lincoln Center suggest a perfect follow-up to a night at the opera. Check it out.

                              Full review + photos and ratings at http://insolentgourmet.com/insolent-g...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: InsolentGourmet

                                As far as Lincoln's being a perfect follow-up to a night at the opera, I would only note that they don't stay open late enough to go to after the opera. For a restaurant attached to Lincoln Center, I think that's moronic. But I've told them that enough times that, if they were going to listen to me, they already would have.

                                1. re: Sneakeater

                                  Good point, this is true, hadn't considered that.

                              2. Charles messaged me last night. It turns out we were right. Lincoln was a hit.

                                Now he needs to head to Buca in his home town - the service isn't so hot, but the food was outstanding.


                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    Thank you for that update! It's always great to hear how things work out from those seeking input/opinions. I"ve always enjoyed Lincoln and am glad Charles liked it, too.

                                  2. Went to Lincoln for dinner and had a mixed experience with some good elements and others that were not as successful.

                                    Beautiful exterior, conveniently located next to Lincoln Center. Interior is carpeted, and furnished with upscale office furniture that completes a "modern" 70's decor. Not a fan of carpeting in restaurants. However, the gorgeous view of Lincoln Center counters the interior decor.

                                    Shown to the table, I waited 10 minutes before someone noticed I had no water or a menu. Waiter came back with a drink menu only and I asked if I could see a dinner menu. No big deal, but it's not often that I fail to get offered water or a menu after being seated for 10 minutes in a Michelin starred restaurant. Waiter returns with a food menu thankfully. I eventually get my water 15 minutes after I've sat down. Not a big deal and I'm not going to ding the service, but I was thirsty and I would have enjoyed getting water when I sat down.

                                    Bread was brought, foccacia, sesame crusted loaf and bread sticks. Comes with eggplant spread and olive oil Breads are lackluster in texture and taste, room temp, and eggplant dip is bland. Olive oil is great, smooth with an assertive, peppery finish. Delicious olive oil.

                                    I tried:

                                    Chicken liver amuse on crostini with pistachios - liver pate was smooth, with mineral taste, not unpleasant, pleasant, but the pistachios had softened/were soft and lacked flavor. The nuts should have been toasted and kept separate from the liver if the amuse was pre-made way advance. The liver had started to "sweat" a little bit (separate).

                                    Burrata with pumpkin puree - I tasted the pumpkin puree first, it was a bit sweet (perhaps sweetened), and had a smoky ancho chili flavor with nice heat. Scattered in the puree were crispy buckwheat that were unpleasantly crunchy and did not melt after chewing like crisped rice would. Considering there were already crunchy pumpkin seeds in the dish, there was no "need" for further crunchy bits. Not that every dish "needs" crunch to begin with.... Furthermore, the strong cereal flavor was at odds with the mild flavor of pumpkin and pungent "ancho" flavor. Texture issues aside, the flavor of the buckwheat and chili were unpleasantly discordant. When I tasted the individual components they were fine, but did not make sense together, they did not taste good together.

                                    When burrata is very fresh, it's oozingly delightful and the burrata at Lincoln was fairly good, room-temperature, and creamy. So much of the flavor hinges on freshness and I'd say it was decent. However, the dish as a whole was a failure because of the chili and buckwheat competing with the cheese and pumpkin.

                                    Reginette with ragu - One of my favorite types of noodles, I really like the shape of reginettes, they're perfect for a thick ragu. The pasta was slightly softer than al dente, I would have preferred for slightly more chew. The dish was piping hot. Ragu was pleasant, understated, savory with root vegetables, nicely thickened, not overly-salty. I would have liked more mushroom flavor, but overall the highlight of the meal.

                                    Grilled and braised rib of beef- beef two ways, two strips of rib meat that I'm almost certain are prepared sous vide then grilled. Perfectly pink throughout with a tight seared crust. Both pieces, although beautiful, were VERY chewy. The braised beef showed poor technique with collagen that hadn't been fully broken down, yet the meat was dry as if the meat had been braised at too high a heat for a short period of time. It also had a string of gristle running through it.

                                    In addition to the issues with technique, the pairing of the beef with toasted hazelnuts was problematic. Another case of a flavor combination that was unsuccessful and distastefully incongruous. The hazelnuts lent the dish a very strong nut flavor that overpowered both beef and reduction. I'm assuming their addition was for the sake of unnecessary crunch as a counterpoint to what was supposed to be tender beef. The celery root sformato however was truly delicious, great flavor, nice fluffy texture, light, very well done. Delicately herbaceous, it complemented the flavor of the beef and added dimension and tone to the wood and fruit in the wine reduction. The compressed pears melded with the wine and celery. Sans hazelnuts and with properly prepared protein of better quality, the dish would have been delicious.

                                    Ricotta cheesecake - very nice texture, less thick than a NY cheesecake, slightly thicker than typical Italian ricotta cheesecakes I'm used to, very creamy, not completely smooth (which I liked), and not overly sweet. Beautiful presentation, but the wafer of pistachio is set askew and it really didn't make sense since it was hard to break through and it needed to be on the cheesecake in order to snap it. So I had to reposition the wafer to sit on the cheesecake. Concord sorbet had pleasant tang, tartness and full-bodied fruit flavor. On the whole, an enjoyable dessert.

                                    The service, other than the menu and water issue at the beginning of the meal, was very competent, friendly and professional.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                      Even though we had completely different dishes, it sounds like your experience very much reflects my own.

                                      Except I thought the carpet was nice.