Oh, Lincoln. Why do you have to be so divisive? I thought you were supposed to be the uniter of the North and South? Instead you just leave so much to be desired. Both Jenna and myself dined at Lincoln separately within the past week an we decided to combine our thoughts to create a joint review regarding our experiences. We also decided to send a tweet to see what other people were saying about this new restaurant downtown. Opinions and experiences seemed to be all over the place.
I wanted to love this place. I love the theme, concept, decor and every one of those Lincoln pennies that adorn the floors. Upon entering Lincoln, I was greeted with a warm atmosphere and a fun vibe. Delicious cocktails were served in mason jars, and I thoroughly enjoyed my bourbon cocktail. My only complaint was the confectioner sugar that lined the rim of the glass caused sticky hands after a few sips. After our cocktails at the bar I was convinced we were in for a great evening, as we sat down the smell of funnel cake overtook our table as the people beside us received their dessert. I knew there was no chance that we were leaving without that funnel cake. Sadly that funnel cake would be the only positive note for the rest of the evening.
Lincoln’s menu is composed of small seasonal plates. Think American style tapas. Each guests is recommended to order 2-3 items. My wife and I ordered roasted asparagus with a poached egg, chicken pot pie, lobster beignets, macaroni and cheese, the funnel cake, the blueberry upside down cake, and two other dishes that sadly never arrived.
When I order tapas I expect to be wowed by the flavors packed into a small plate. I want to take a bite of a dish and immediately call the waitress over to bring another portion over. That didn’t happen at Lincoln, and I really wanted it to. As I mentioned before, the funnel cake was the highlight of the meal (aside from the drinks), several of the dishes were just OK, and a few (the blueberry dessert and lobster beignets) we did not enjoy at all. My hope is that the kitchen needs some time to gets its legs underneath them and then the food will be as good as the decor and drinks at Lincoln.
I really was excited by the looks of Lincoln upon entering for the first time last night. The space is exciting and fun with great lighting, interesting seating, and unique artwork that all follows the Abraham Lincoln theme. And of course you can’t help but notice the custom floor made of pennies that adds a fun twist to the decor of the restaurant which is otherwise placed in a pretty stale part of town. Lincoln’s atmosphere and ambiance shows so much promise, but unfortunately the food falls a bit flat, and many of the dishes still need a lot of work.
I met my friends Katie and Lindsay and we were very excited to be seated at a table in the back that was separated from the bar area which allowed for us to enjoy conversation in a quieter setting. Our table was fantastic with two upholstered couches on each end making for quite a comfortable eating nook. Despite the mixed reviews I was hearing throughout the Twitterverse, I was hopeful that Lincoln would deliver a great meal, but instead I found the overall meal to be mediocre with a few highlights that were enjoyable but not amazing.
As Chad mentioned, Lincoln serves seasonal small plates and the waitress recommended that we order 2-3 dishes per person. One of the first things that arrived was the watermelon salad which we really did not care for. The flavors were off and the mixture of watermelon with feta, olives, and fennel just didn’t work. Not a great start. Thankfully, the grilled peaches with goat cheese and honey came next which were refreshing and a sweet surprise. However, not sure I would call this dish unique or hard to do, therefore I was hesitant as we approached the rest of the dishes.
I enjoyed the chicken pot pie which was deconstructed and made mainly of filling with a small pastry on the top which was supposed to symbolize what would have been the crust on the pie. However, the peas were hard and undercooked which sort of ruined what could have been an otherwise enjoyable bite. The lamb and pork meatballs were tasty and the chickpea puree helped to tie in some flavor. The macaroni and cheese was good, but I found myself putting the goat cheese from the peaches dish into the mixture because it wasn’t creamy enough, but the tomato risotto was enjoyable. The real winner of the night was the sweet potato fries with truffle oil, but how could those possibly be bad?
I would rather not even mention the lobster beignets because they were so incredibly bland and tasted like cornmeal, but we were also not even convinced that there was lobster in them at all. Overall, the meal was medicore at best. I wanted to like it but I can’t help but think that Lincoln would be better off sticking to a smaller menu and trying to do it well rather than having so many options that really disappoint. I do think that Lincoln has a lot to offer in the happy hour scene because of their large bar area and their great $5 specials after work. I could see returning for a drink sometime in the upcoming months, but I will likely avoid another meal there until I hear that things have improved.
1110 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005