An Evening at 51 Lincoln

There's a lot of factors that go into whether or not I like a restaurant. There's even more factors that go into whether or not I love a restaurant. In an ideal world, when I'm looking at a menu, I'm looking for my curiosity to be peaked by innovative combinations of flavors and textures. I want to see chances taken and risks being made. Surprise me. Wow me. Make me feel like I'm learning something new about food, inspiring new ideas for me to apply to my own kitchen. Or if you're not going to give me something new, execute the simple well and show me how good something so simple can be.

51 Lincoln House-made Charcuterie
Last night I had the chance to attend a tasting event at 51 Lincoln, located in Newton Highlands. This cozy and charming little spot was absolutely packed on a rainy Tuesday evening. The atmosphere can best be described as vibrant, with bright, eye-catching art on the walls (painted by the chef, himself) and a dining room bustling with loud chatter and laughter, the mood automatically gets set for an evening of fun.

Pan Seared Watermelon Steak, Eggplant, Cherry Tomato, French Feta, Fresh Parsley
At first glance, the menu doesn't jump out as being excessively creative but it still works. We were fortunate enough to receive a generous menu tasting. To cover some of the highlights of the meal, we started out with a sampling of the house-made charcuterie which had a nice, rich flavor of spices. We also sampled the chef's signature dish, watermelon steak, which is watermelon that is braised and then pan-seared so it develops a nice crackly, charred crust. While the result was a pleasantly thick and condensed texture, the taste wasn't as strong as I had hoped, however I love the risk here. This is what I'm talking about!

Fennel Dusted Pork Tenderloin, Lemon Spaetzle, Pea Tendrils, Apple & Red Pepper Jam
For my entree, I selected the pork which was tender and cooked to a perfect temperature and served as a trio. While I didn't taste the fennel, I still thought that the pork had a great flavor to it and I enjoyed how the pea tendrils complimented it. The spaetzle was terrific. Adding a bright, lemony component that was both soft and crispy, I would have liked more of these on my plate! The pork was also served with a apple and red pepper jam that looked pretty on the plate but seemed more like a salsa and not necessary. I would have been fine without it.

Moving on to desert, we sampled a variety of 51 Lincoln's frozen custards and sorbets, all of which were refreshing and tasty. In particular I enjoyed the cinnamon sorbet and the chocolate espresso. I also liked the creativity behind the "Where is The Cake Lebowski, Kahlua Cake, Coco Powder, Toasted Coconut" which comes out neatly stacked up next a "special little garnish" of the Dude's face (a Big Lebowski reference). Fun on a plate.

Where is The Cake Lebowski, Kahlua Cake, Coco Powder, Toasted Coconut 
Overall, I really liked 51 Lincoln. I found the staff to be friendly and knowledgeable and enthusiastic and the atmosphere to lively. Although I think the prices are a little on the high side for the portions, I still think that this is a great spot to try if you're venturing out of the city.

51 Lincoln on Urbanspoon


Megan said...

It sounds like the dinner was very creative. I wish I could have gone, but I was distracted by an ice cream party. :)

Shannon said...

braised grilled watermelon steak? how fabulous. sounds like a fun night!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I'm sorry that I had to bail on this dinner at the last minute. It looks like it was a wonderful meal!

Alicia said...

I ate here once about a year ago and was really impressed with the menu. I thought they were creative without being over the top or contrived. I actually had a vegetarian meal and I was delighted with it.
Glad you had a nice time!!

Jen said...

That pork does look great. I enjoyed the watermellon steak. It's like nothing I've ever had before...

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Metrowest really has some great restaurants. Something to look forward when we get old and move to the 'burbs!

Michelle Collins said...

Oh man - I went last night, and I cannot say enough about their food, atmosphere and service. Great review!!

Peter Biro said...

Katie- if you find yourself back out in the burbs, get their polenta fries.

miriam said...

I've been curious to try 51 Lincoln for a LONG time - dishes look great and I STILL want to go :)

What's Hot From The Small Boston Kitchen