Chef Jonathan Benno, previously of Per Se, has designed a terrific menu for this glass pavilion on the Lincoln Center plaza that takes Italian cuisine to its highest level. While theatregoers head for the ballet, opera, or symphony after a fabulous meal, later diners can watch the culinary performance in the open kitchen and chat with the very theatre-savvy staff. Sip a glass of wine from the totally Italian list and be sure to dip a piece of your rustic Italian bread into the Cusmai olive oil from Puglia, with its fresh fruity intensity and hint of artichoke.
A delicately fried Soft Shelled Crab appetizer is perfectly complemented by tangy pickled green tomato, cucumber, red onion, celery, and mayonnaise made with pachino (Sicilian) tomatoes. Depending on the market, you may find entrées such as Grilled Sea Bass with fennel and almond tartare, or a Double Cut Lamp Chop with spicy sausage, roasted peppers, fennel, and mint-lamb sauce. The Eggplant Parmagiano side dish is frequently singled out by Lincoln fans for a standing ovation. Two thick slices of roasted eggplant layered with cheese and sauce arrive with melting, flavorful goodness.
Pastry chef Richard Capizzi’s heavenly version of the classic baba au rhum, a dessert beloved in Naples, is literally to die for. A brioche soaked in Brachetto (red sparkling wine) is complemented by vanilla crema, white peach sorbetto, and mint foam.
A three-course fixed-price menu is $60 or $95 with wine. A four-course chef’s menu requires the participation of the table; $75 to $90 per person plus wine. Dinner daily from 5:30pm to 10:30pm; later from Thursday to Saturday; earlier on Sunday. Lunch Wednesday to Friday; brunch on weekends. -- Marian Betancourt