Disappointment is often the the feeling I have when I leave an upscale restaurant. Often it's the food, sometimes it's the value, occasionally it's the service. So, it's rare that I come across a place that has lived up to my expectations, not once, but twice. We went to 51 Lincoln for my birthday, back in May and I throughly enjoyed it.
The standouts were this amazing watermelon steak appetizer; it's first braised in sherry, and then pan seared. The first bite is a taste revelation; meaty and fruity, all at the same time. The other dish was a new take on bacon and scallops; they used a thick slab of smoked pork belly with one perfect scallop. It was unbelievably good.
So, it was 8pm on Friday night and we were trying to figure out where to go to dinner with our friend Jon. 51 Lincoln came to mind and with a quick phone call, we had a 8:30pm reservation. Awesome.
Sadly, they don't have the scallop appetizer on their fall menu, so we ordered the watermelon again (still delicious) and the polenta fries with Parmesan aioli. The fries were crispy and fabulous and I could smear the aioli over pretty much anything. The bread basket was also terrific, with an assortment of French, focaccia, and warm cornbread. It came with roasted garlic and EVOO (damn, do I sound like Rachael Ray?). I had the braised short ribs. I love short ribs, but they are time consuming to cook, so I rarely do it. These short ribs were melt-in-your-mouth tender and succulent. Astoundingly good. R's pork chop was also delicious. Jon had the duck, which was good, but it was duck breast which is my least favorite part of a duck. It did have nice crispy skin, which in integral to duck.
My only complaint was about my dessert, and I take full blame. I ordered the cherve hazelnut cheesecake and it was too goat-y for me. But what did I expect, really? I got a goat cheese cheesecake and it was too goat-y. I might as well have ordered the apple tarte tatin and complained it was too apple-y. (R did order it, by the way, and it was very nice, as far as a fruit dessert goes) Jon had a scoop of blood orange sorbet. I think it's nice they they offer a single scoop of ice cream or sorbet for just $2, for those who want just a little something sweet. It was reminiscent of the orange push up sherbets in the blue cardboard tube I used get from the ice cream truck when I was little. (Does anyone else remember them???)
Check out 51 Lincoln in Newton, you won't regret it.