Review of 51 Lincoln

51 Lincoln Restaurant, 51 Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands, MA; 617-965-3100; website

review by Heidi Vernon

I called for reservations a week in advance of this past Saturday evening. It was my husband Jerry’s birthday dinner with our youngest daughter and her husband as our guests.  I wanted this to be low key consistent with Jerry’s wishes but still a festive occasion. I made sure the restaurant knew it was his birthday and that we wanted a dessert to share after the meal.  We arrived five minutes early, were warmly greeted, and immediately seated while we waited for our daughter and son-in-law who arrived shortly after.  The owner brought us menus, and took drink orders. Our son-in-law knows the owner and we were treated like important guests. This is a restaurant that takes its drinks seriously. The bartender came over to introduce himself and brought a complimentary homemade hibiscus liqueur with a dark sweet, slightly tart, complex flavor that should not be missed. Our son-in-law had a sloe gin fizz (my high school choice of drink that I have not had in 55 years) made with imported English sloe berries. Jerry who loved Budweiser beer was happy with Narragansett beer as a substitute. The delicious breadbasket included cornbread, ciabatta, and French bread slices with a deeply flavorful olive oil and whipped sweet butter   

   We shared the following appetizers: crispy Szechuan calamari with lemon, smoked tomato aioli and tomato chili jam (a paper-lined bowl full of perfectly fried calamari bodies and tentacles with slightly spicy creamy aioli and a tart chili jam), charcuterie plate of house made selection, cornichons and pommery mustard (two rounds of cured salami, a chunk of country paté, and paper thin slices of smoked turkey. Hot crispy grilled batons of bread accompanied this offering. The chef sent over a complimentary half order of rigatoni Bolognese that we devoured. It was a perfectly-sized blend of pasta, meat, sauce, and cheese. 

   My main dish was pan roasted all natural chicken on salsify and golden beet purée and a scallion hydrocress salad (a very generous boned crispy golden skinned chicken breast on a smoothly unctuous vegetable puree. The cress salad was a perfect foil).

Jerry had the miso marinated salmon with spring vegetable stir fry, sushi rice, and mirin soy reduction (perfectly cooked fresh salmon filet with delicious rice and vegetables). Our son-in-law Marc had the seared Wolfe’s Neck Farm skirt steak, queso fresco arepa stack, jalepeno jam, saffron pickled egg) The steak was done perfectly medium rare, the arepa is a Latin American corn cake with fresh cheese. Marc took one bite of the pickled egg and quickly handed it over to our daughter Jennifer. Jen, who said they had been eating non-stop on their recent trip to Florida had the signature appetizer of pan seared watermelon steak in a curried potato stick nest. Along with a side dish of spring vegetable stir fry, it was a light but ample meal. 

   We shared a wedge of spice cake with caramel that had a candle for the birthday boy. We had wonderfully friendly and expert service. We felt completely welcome and that this was a special dinner in a neighborhood bistro. We live in Newton and it is clear that the management is committed to making locals feel at home. Prices are entirely reasonable considering the very high quality of the food and lovely presentation. Hope you enjoy it too.


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