Lincoln may be the most astonishing new restaurant in the city, a dramatic plate-glass space perched on the edge of the Lincoln Center plaza. Chef Jonathan Benno, formerly of Per Se, has put together a challenging all-Italian menu: testa di maiale translates as Berkshire pork terrine, the menu description leaving aside the heady parts; there is also gigli neri con seppia e polpo (cuttlefish and red wine-braised octopus) and cacciucco with Spanish mackerel and fennel. Those red-wine seafood dishes are particularly delicious with a glass of the Terre Nere Etna Rosso, or a bottle of the Occhipinti Frappato, the sort of wines that Aaron Von Rock (late of Telepan) and general manager Paolo Novello (another Per Se alum), packed onto the 400-bottle all-Italian list. Sure, there are verticals from legendary estates and plenty of star power at the requisite price. What surprises are the steals, especially when viewing the list from an oversized red banquette. Von Rock knows geek chic, and you can drink extraordinarily well here in the $45 to $70 range. Go late, once the Lincoln Center crowd is safely seated for the ballet or opera. Lincoln is a destination in its own right and a performance not to be missed.
Lincoln Center, 142 W. 65th St., New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2011.
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