“It’s been excruciatingly slow,” the bartender told me. After I ordered, a middle-aged couple dressed like they came from a golf outing sat next to me. They weren’t there to eat, but rather to try wines. Several wines. “There’s a time and a place for certain wines,” a second bartender told them as he was crafting what looked to be an Old Fashioned with muddled fruit. “Italians drink wine with food,” he said as the couple took diligent notes like they were in a college lecture. I stopped listening. “After you have a few glasses of a tannic wine, you can’t even tell your tongue is in your mouth anymore,” I overheard. “Time and place.”
No matter the time, Lincoln is certainly the place to eat during fashion week. Before my pasta came, a waitress offered me a selection of breads. I chose the pizza pomodoro bread, a fresh take on how Americans eat pizza: cold and whenever. (Jonathan Benno, Lincoln’s chef, is not Italian despite the menu and his name ending in a vowel.) After the bread, another waiter brought over a crostini topped with a fresh tomato and basil leaf. I was pleased, but wondered if this happens when Lincoln isn’t “excruciatingly slow.”
My pasta choice that evening was the garganelli e ciascolo, the ridged version of the tubular pasta with pork sausage. It came—exquisitely presented—in a large, warmed bowl topped with sheep’s milk ricotta. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the meat had a smoky flavor that was irresistible. I learned that this dish was from the Le Marche region of Italy. “We usually focus on four regions per year,” the bartender told me. After the pasta, the bartender asked if I wanted to see a dessert menu. I politely declined, knowing I had another meal to eat right after. Yet, as the check came it was accompanied by a large plate filled with two homemade candies (seven apricot jellies and seven balsamic vinegar and strawberry candies) and a piece of espresso chocolate. I had one of each, and put two in my bag for the road.
Lincoln Ristorante, 142 West 65th Street, New York, NY; 212.359.6500; lincolnristorante.com.