Sunday, May 15, 2011
As I drove up Route 128 from Quincy to Newton, I was surprised at how fast the traffic was moving. You never know on 128. Route 9 has its quirks as well. Like you can't turn around easily, so you'd better know where you're going or you'll be trapped on it for a while. Plus it was raining, so I left a bit early.
51 Lincoln, which is Zagat rated, is very easy to find once you exit onto Route 9, so I ended up arriving early. As I waited for the other food bloggers and our host to arrive, I had a chance to look around. One of the first things that you notice about 51 Lincoln is the beautiful art on the walls. Vibrant colors with lines and shapes that convey boundless energy and creativity.
When I learned that Chef/Owner, Jeffrey Fournier was also the artist, I was not only intrigued, but even more excited about the food. Most of his art is available for sale right off the wall, if you're interested in buying. And let me tell you. The creativity in his art translates to his food. Everything that I ate was a treat that dazzled my senses.
Before I get to our meal specifics, my big picture recommendation is most definitley to eat at 51 Lincoln. At least once. Especially if you're planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday, a graduation, or a special corporate event. They have many private dining options and cater as well. Newton is a little bit out of the way for many of us, but parking is free, so you could actually end up saving money compared to going to Boston.
May is Soft Shell Crab Month and each day the crab is prepared differently, so if you like crab, this month is a good one to visit.
The other food bloggers at the meal were Fiona, Jen, and Michelle, who I met for the first time. Along with Chris, of Chris Lyons Communications, our small group enjoyed a meal to remember with fun conversation and incredible food.
So let's get to the meal! The bread basket was different, because they had several different types of bread, which included corn bread. I always like a nice variety.
Wine was flowing freely and if I hadn't been driving, I would have enjoyed much more. But safety first!
I've written here about wine and that I prefer sweet wines. Many times restaurants don't provide that option. 51 Lincoln has an extensive wine menu and Sommelier Miguel Escobar gave us a light, fresh, smooth, and sweet enough for me Riesling: SELBACH 2006 Bernkasteler Kurustlay, from Mosel wine country in Germany. Pure heaven!
There are specialty cheeses and house made charcuterie. I only eat poultry and seafood, so I stuck with the cheese. But not the head cheese! Not only do they make their own meats, but recently they planted a garden on the roof, so many of the greens were freshly picked.
Later in the season, fresh vegetables will also be found in many of their offerings.
For my entree, I had the Pan Roasted Atlantic Salmon with a mint infused sweet pea puree.
The smooth texture of the puree and the fresh flavor of the peas and mint were doing things in my mouth that made me sit back. Taking the pieces of salmon and swirling it around in the puree were tiny bits of happiness that I will remember for a long time.
The combinations of ingredients, the intensity of each flavor, plus the surprise of the design seemed to increase with each plate that was brought before us. We were taken to another place mentally by this food!
Fried Housemade Pickles with remoulade and Polenta Fries with a truffle parmesan dip! Chef Fournier, your creative food made us swoon!
Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the Pan Seared Watermelon Steak yet.
It looks like a steak, but it's watermelon that's been soaked in sherry for three days. It's hard to describe the flavor, but you'd never guess that it's watermelon. Incredible!
Then the dessert! The Where's The Cake Lebowski was not only good, but made all of us crack up when we saw it. It's a white Kahlua cake with cocoa powder dust and toasted coconut.
I didn't get a chance to try the tart, but everyone liked it.
And then there were the frozen desserts. Can you say sheer glee?
The Cinnamon Sorbet was so cinnamony that cinnamon didn't know it could taste that good.
The Chocolate Espresso frozen custard took chocolate to another level. The Cranberry was mild and unexpected.
The Honey Lavender frozen custard absolutely blew my mind. I couldn't tell if I was tasting it, smelling it or both. The lavender washed all over me in a way that I had not experienced before. It was a sensory explosion. Need I say more? I cannot wait until my next time at 51 Lincoln.
*Updated 2/14/2014* According to an article on Boston.com today, the menu format will be changing. Look here for the letter from Chef Jeff Fournier.
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Disclaimer: Dinner courtesy of 51 Lincoln and Chris Lyons Communications.
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