Those of you who are my Twitter or Foursquare friends may have noticed my recent frequency at the new downtown restaurant Lincoln. Located on Vermont just south of Thomas Circle, it’s a hop, skip, and a jump from my front door. Lincoln is brought to us by the owners of the Hudson, which all sources tell me has less-than-average cuisine. I’ve never been there to eat, only for cocktails, but my co-Bitch gave brunch a B-.
The décor at Lincoln creates a phenomenal industrial chic ambiance. One million pennies line the floor and walls; exposed Edison light fixtures hang from the ceilings; gorgeous bright paintings of the namesake adorn the walls. Diners eat at farmhouse-style tables or at an enormous white tufted booths inspired by Lincoln’s seat at his memorial. The back half of the restaurant is white and bright and glamorous. There’s a whole lot going on.
The Prohibition era-themed cocktails are phenomenal: artfully presented, delicious, unique and very strong. There are mint juleps, Shoemaker’s Gin Rickeys (a drink created in the District), Moscow Mules, Honest Abe’s Moonshine, and more. Personally, I love the Lady Lincoln and Hemingway’s Daiquiri. Most are served in traditional brass mugs and others come in mason jars. The six-person emancipation punch—made with gin, cachaca, chamomile, clove, lemon and lavender bitters—comes served in an old fashioned punch bowl.
The cuisine is seasonal small plates—American style tapas with a twist, if you will. I’ve been there for dinner four times now, a rarity for me, including going both Friday and Saturday this past weekend. Yep, you could say I’m a fan. While certain dishes need work—the mac n’cheese was so-so, and I gave our waiter several tips on how to amp up the desserts to pass on to the chef. If you know me at all, you know how important mac n’ cheese and dessert are in my life.
That aside, I’ve had many a phenomenal bite at this establishment, and it wasn’t just due to the fact I’m usually several fancy-pants cocktails deep. When it first opened, I had the spring gnocchi with pea shoots, fresh mushrooms and a light cream sauce. My pal Lacey had the pork tenderloin with a spaghetti squash cranberry ricotta au gratin that was phenomenal.
The tuna tartare and kale salad are great menu staples. Recently, the garlic and heirloom tomato risotto was rich creamy garlic deliciousness that made my taste buds beg for more. The French fries come with dipping sauces much like you’d find at Brasserie Beck or Granville Moore’s. The cheese plate is generous and comes with unique accoutrements like apricot chutney and Dijon mustard that also vary with the season.
So, of course I was at Lincoln shortly after they began serving brunch. The brunch menu is well-rounded without being overly expansive. There are soups and salads, eggs and entrees, including chicken pot pie, waffles, pancakes, stuffed French toast, sides and desserts.
I opted for a coffee, while beau began Sunday strong with a mint julep, which was sweet, minty and strong, served in a brass mug with crushed ice. Gotta love the crushed ice. My potential mother-in-law (Hi, hunnie!) had a mimosa that was a vivid, bright orange. The orange juice was particularly fresh and pulpy, yet the cocktail was still strong. Impressive, Lincoln, I don’t know how you do it.
We began with an order of sticky date and walnut muffins. A plate of four small muffins that were sweet-yet-crunchy and baked to a perfect moist consistency. I’m not particularly wild about dates, but I enjoyed these.
Beau’s mum chose the three egg-rolled omelet for her entrée, filled with mushrooms, manchego cheese and watercress pesto and served with a side of home fries.
I chose the baked egg frittata with shrimp, asparagus and tomato aioli, which also came with home fries. The frittata was beautiful presented, and perfectly baked. It was loaded with shrimp and fresh, in-season asparagus. It was so enjoyable, that I didn’t get sick of eggs, which often happens with me. I would have liked a bit more aioli on top, as it was delicious and added a lot of flavor to the dish. The home fries were made with little potatoes, which I love, and came with plenty of onions, which I also love. They were well-seasoned but a titch too oily.
Beau ordered the smoked salmon salad with arugula, cucumbers, and peas and topped with parmesan cheese and a light, fresh, and delicious yogurt dressing.
Also on the table was the side of apple bacon (delicious, I’m told), more home fries, and cheddar biscuits. I’m not normally wild about biscuits, but these were very moist (an issue of concern with biscuits) and the cheddar was not overpowering.
The Bitches say: A. Affordable prices, well-rounded menu, and good service. We enjoyed every cocktail and dish on the table.
1110 Vermont Avenue N.W.
P.S.- The ladies bathroom is hot pink. Loves it.