Doug and I wanted to keep it low key this past New Year’s Eve–which meant we would grab dinner and then head home to throw on our pjs and chill on the couch while waiting for the ball to drop. So I left him in charge of choosing our dinner spot, and he decided on 51 Lincoln, a small restaurant in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, that focuses on simplicity, good quality food, and inventive dishes.
We were seated downstairs, which (after doing a little research) I found out is also known as the “Wine Room,” since it’s basically the restaurant’s wine cellar. It was super cozy with only five two-person tables, and one table set for a party of eight. The tables were covered by white linens, a large bright red Turkish-style rug laid across the floor, and barnwood walls wrapped around the room with shelves of cookbooks scattered throughout. Needless to say, it was right up my alley.
Since it was technically a special occasion, I decided to go for the tasting menu, while Doug ordered a few a la carte items. He started with the Boston bibb salad with blistered tomatoes, crispy shallots, a 6-minute egg, and warm pancetta vinaigrette, and then ordered the Aged-painted Hills sirloin with confit purple potatoes, haricot verts, foie gras and caramelized onion butter, and worcestershire jus, as his main. For my tasting menu, I first chose the Caesar salad, made with romaine, anchovies, homemade croutons, and fiore di nonno burrata. Then it was on to the house-made caper tagliatelle with lump crab meat, baby artichokes, lemon cream sauce, and shaved asparagus. My main was (no surprise) the black garlic-crusted rack of lamb with chestnut puree, cranberry and bacon brussels sprouts, and rosemary jus. And we both shared the dessert: chocolate hazelnut terrine with blackberry Chantilly cream, bruléed figs, and mint.
All I can say is wowza. From the salads to start, until that last bite of bruléed fig, the chefs at 51 Lincoln absolutely knew what they were doing. Please note: I never order Caesar salad, but since Doug was getting the bibb, I decided to try it. And who the heck would think a Caesar salad could wow you? Well, it did. And I even got Doug to eat an anchovy (Mind you, he didn’t like it, but at least he tried it).
The homemade tagliatelle with lump crab meat was by far my favorite dish. When you can tell within your first bite that the pasta is fresh, you know you’re in for a treat. And this pasta did not disappoint. As for the lamb, I know many of you probably think I’ve never had a lamb dish I didn’t adore, but I actually have had several that were a huge disappointment. This lamb was NOT one of those disappointments. It was so incredibly delicious and comforting, I can’t imagine a more perfect way to start my new year off right.
Although we were completely stuffed by the time the chocolate terrine arrived, we devoured it anyway. It was a little too chocolatey for me, so Doug finished that off–but I could have eaten the figs by the spoonfuls.
My only real complaint was the length of time it took to consume this meal. Our reservation was for 7:30pm, and we didn’t leave the restaurant until 10:30ish. It was a marathon meal for sure. But every bite during that three-hour dinner was well worth it. Are we heading back to 51 Lincoln? Absolutely.