Unlike other ambitious New York restaurants of recent vintage, this 45-table operation isn’t housed in an old meatpacking plant, or a battered Brooklyn townhouse, or in the back of a formerly posh hotel. It resides in its own multilevel, $20 million “pavilion,” outfitted from scratch (by the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which also oversaw the Lincoln Center renovation) with a marble bar and three separate dining sections—one by the kitchen; one facing south, overlooking the theater spaces; and the other to the west. The wine tower, too, is made with glass, the chairs are covered in cream-colored faux leather, and if you wish to digest your meal in a more bucolic atmosphere, you can do that on the roof, which is covered in a carefully manicured meadow of grass. Surroundings like this raise expectations, of course, and so does the presence of a cook like Jonathan Benno. The master chef has worked at the French Laundry in Napa and at Tom Colicchio’s Craft. For the six years, he ran the day-to-day operations at Per Se with a legendary, clinical precision. Here at Lincoln, his menu changes every three months to focus on a new region of Italy. There are faint glimmerings of Per Se–like innovation and excellence among the entrées, though none of the seafood dishes I tried (good halibut with artichokes; a small, well-cooked piece of salmon; a tiny, mealy wheel of cod) had the kind of popping freshness you’d expect from a top-shelf restaurant. The best antipasti tend to be the simplest ones, like the milky wedge of burrata (plated with roasted squash). The pastas include bubblegum-sweet squash ravioli splashed with brown butter; and a linquine con granseola (with Peekytoe crab and uni, for $31) and the desserts enliven the proceedings a little.Ideal Meal
Burrata or spaghetti pomodoro, roast lamb, apple crostata.