Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dude! Newton's 51 Lincoln: Local, Organic, and Classy...with a Touch of Fun

I tried head cheese last week, and you know what? Despite the off-putting name and ingredients, it was actually pretty good. Kind of like fancy bologna. (This was a thinly sliced version; I don’t think I’d be able to handle it in the usual terrine. Something about that texture disgusts me.)

This is what I love about blogger events: I try new things. I re-try old things I thought I hated. And I often discover that some of it is very good!

Last week I was invited to a complimentary blogger dinner to try out the spring menu at 51 Lincoln in Newton, and it was a pleasure, as always, to spend some quality time eating and drinking with other bloggers! I had not been aware of 51 Lincoln before receiving the invitation; now that I live on the Red Line, I rarely find myself eating as far out in Green territory as the Newton area.  A look at the restaurant’s website was enticing, though: lots of talk of a focus on local and organic food.

Upon arriving, I was told of Chef Fournier’s rooftop garden. I’ll admit it: rooftop gardens immediately boost my perception of a restaurant. I love imagining a chef, in sparkling white and freshly ironed chef garb, climbing up a precarious ladder to a tiny collection of herbs on a city roof, picking the freshest and figuring out how to incorporate them into the day’s menu. Also impressing me before the food even came out: Chef Fournier painted all of the artwork in the restaurant (and it looks good!)

A few of my favorite parts of the meal:

Pan-Seared Watermelon Steak
Eggplant Chicharron, Confit Cherry Tomato, French Feta, Fried Parsley
I loved every aspect of this dish – even the eggplant, which I usually dislike! See, there’s that blogger dinner magic again. Whenever I attend things like these, I try to drop all preconceived notions and try whatever is served to me. I'm often surprised by the things that turn out to be delicious!

Polenta Fries
Truffle Parmesan Dip
I would probably give up my firstborn for a big plate of these. Probably.

And for dessert…

“Where’s the Cake Lebowski”
White Kahlua Cake, Cocoa Powder Dust, Toasted Coconut
Well, that one was unexpected. I love that this restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously!

The rest of the food was enjoyable. Would I make a special trip out from Somerville to eat here? Probably not; I think there are places more convenient for me that fill the same niche. However, I’d definitely recommend a visit if this is a convenient destination for you. From the art on the walls to the art on the plates, Chef Fournier’s vision is bright and classy with a touch of fun. Plus, this place was totally packed on a Tuesday night in Newton Highlands; all the other storefronts had been dark for hours. I guess this is the place to be!

51 Lincoln on Urbanspoon

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