Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Lovely Lincoln

Sometimes I'm a little behind. As in late to the party, the last to know, maybe even a little slow on the uptake. But better late than never, right? Right?

So it was that when friends called to see if we'd like to join them for dinner at Lincoln, I had to admit that, no, though it's a mere five-minute drive from our door to theirs, we had yet to have dinner at the now 2-year-old establishment. And we'd even heard very complimentary things about the food, the service and the Northwest-meets-midcentury design of the place.

We walked in right on time for our 7:15 pm reservation and found our friends already ensconced at the bar with drinks in hand (one of many reasons we love them), so we sat down and ordered a round for ourselves. The maître d' stopped by to let us know our table was ready, but said there was no hurry if we wanted to hang at the bar for a few minutes, and she was as good as her word.

We moved the party to the table, our drinks floating behind us care of the able staff, and ordered the octopus salad (meaty and delicious) and thyme flatbread with tonnato (a tuna-based spread), heirloom tomatoes and a spoonful of fennel salad…fresh and totally seasonal. I noticed that padron peppers were featured on another salad and, because our friends had never tasted them, I asked our waitress if the chef could possibly fry up a few for them to sample.

Within moments a plate piled with the peppers arrived and as we nibbled…who am I kidding?…inhaled them we ordered our entrées, two of us going for rabbit, one for albacore (two large pieces seared on green beans and bottarga, above) and the other rounding it out with a lamb ragu. My rabbit (above right), a confit of two legs on soft polenta with padron peppers and pimenton, was tender and juicy, a nice trick to pull off with the leanness of this meat, even considering it's the juiciest part of the bunny.

I found out later that this place is known for its housemade pastas, and our experience confirmed that in spades. The malloreddus pasta, which came with a rabbit ragu, was a new one on me, looking for all the world like a pile of little white caterpillars. Which put none of us off of it in the least, since we all passed bites around for the table to sample. Dave had also ordered a pasta dish, this one with sorcetti, similar to gnocchi and made with potatoes, that came topped by a lamb ragu. The rich stew was mixed with plenty of pecorino and was the sneaker hit of the evening.

The bottle of Chateau Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé that we chose was light enough for the albacore but had enough body and acid to take on the ragus, so the group was more than happy on that front. After dinner it was shots of scotch and __ for the guys (no cigars, alas…I love that smell with scotch!) and a dessert for the table, a light meringue layered with creme fraiche and slathered with blueberries (above left). A nigh perfect finish.

So though we might have been a tad slow to come to the table at Lincoln, we were more than pleased that we'd finally taken our seats there.

Details: Lincoln, 3808 N Williams Ave. Phone 503-288-6200.

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