Monday, May 16, 2011

A Culinary Experience at 51 Lincoln

Some restaurants just get it. They serve quality, mostly organic and/or local food with beautiful presentations, all brought to your table by knowledgeable, friendly, attentive waiters. Even the atmosphere is inviting and clean - and the bathrooms are spotless (I've seen some scary restaurant bathrooms).

51 Lincoln is one such restaurant. 51 Lincoln "gets it."

I was lucky enough to dine at 51 Lincoln last week with three other lovely bloggers: Fiona, Lisa and Jen. We got to sample quite a few dishes off of 51 Lincoln's menu while chatting and taking photos of our food.

I started the evening with a chilled glass of Selbach Riesling 2006 ($8). This was a wonderfully dry and not overly sweet Riesling, which is just the way I like my white wine.

Among the many appetizers we started with was the freshly baked bread (including some homemade cornbread), served with a tomato and olive oil dipping sauce and housemade hummus.

Before our entrees came out, the staff at 51 Lincoln also brought us out a bite of fresh pasta served with a lobster cream sauce and fiddleheads. This was my first bite of seafood in a long time, but it convinced me to allow seafood in my diet every now and then. The textures and flavors in this one bite were out of this world. 

The star of the evening though, for me, was the Pan Seared Watermelon Steak ($11), served with eggplant chicharron, confit cherry tomato, French feta and fried parsley. This unique, extremely innovative dish is a chef speciality at 51 Lincoln - the process of braising and pan-searing a piece of watermelon transformed this fruit to taste (and look) more like a piece of meat. For me, it greatly resembled raw tuna in texture and appearance. Eating it with the feta, eggplant and tomato all in one bite (as recommended by the chef) was quite the culinary experience. 

Due to Richard's requests, we also ordered the Fried Pickles ($6), served with remoulade, as well as the Polenta Fries ($6), which are served with a truffle parmesan dip. 

The fried pickles were perfectly cooked, and I liked how the fried outer coating was light and not overly greasy (almost like tempura). The polenta fries were by far the best I've had to date - wonderfully crispy on the outside, and smooth and soft in the center. 

For my entree, I went with the Porcini Mushroom Risotto ($15/$25), which was served with sauteed wild mushrooms and spring ramps.

The risotto was perfectly cooked and creamy, and if you like cheese (like I do), then you'll love this dish. The sharpness from the cheese complemented the flavorful mushrooms and ramps extremely well. I practically licked my plate clean!

Our eating marathon did not stop with our entrees - we got to sample quite a few of 51 Lincoln's desserts, too. Although many restaurants tend to let their dessert menus fall flat, the creativity here continues. The desserts we sampled included the "Where's the Cake Lebowski" ($8), which was white Kahlua cake with a cocoa powder dust and toasted coconut. 

The Mexican Spiced Chocolate Terrine ($8), served with fresh orange slices and orange ice cream. 

Meyer Lemon and Rhubarb Tart ($8).

And four flavors of housemade, slow-churned frozen custard and sorbet ($3-$7), including Honey Lavender, Chocolate Walnut Espresso, Cinnamon and Cranberry. 

The Honey Lavender frozen custard was insanely creamy and unique in flavor, but my favorite dessert of the evening was the Lebowski Kahlua cake. Not just because of the presentation, but the cake itself was incredibly moist, yet surprisingly light.

Because of their dedication to locally-grown foods and high quality ingredients, 51 Lincoln even has a new garden on their rooftop where they currently grow a lot of their herbs. Even the walls inside the restaurant are adorned with the talented chef's artwork. This place has a great local feel (from the food down to the decor), and it was packed for a Wednesday evening. After eating there, I'm not surprised at all. 

Overall, our dining experience at 51 Lincoln was quite the culinary experience. I'm eager to go back there and bring Z - the menu had a slew of vegetarian options, as well as plenty of meat and seafood dishes. 

Disclaimer: The folks at 51 Lincoln were generous enough to provide us with this tasting free of charge. Despite their generosity, the views expressed in this review are 100% my own. 

In your opinion, what other restaurants in the area "get it" when it comes to food, service, atmosphere, etc.?

51 Lincoln on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow. That is all I have to say,

    This is now on my MUST try list!

  2. I sadly had to cancel on the Tuesday night tasting but this looks like a wonderful meal!

  3. I've never been to 51 Lincoln but hear great things about it. Everything looks amazing! Especially the risotto - I want that!

  4. It was great meeting you Michelle! We sure did get to dine in style! : )

  5. I had another event and couldn't make it, but it sounds like this was a great dinner. That watermelon steak is particularly intriguing. Watermelon and feta is a great combo!

  6. sounds like quite a meal!!

  7. I was on a wine tasting panel and had to miss this, but it looks great, definitely worth the trip to Newton!