The new restaurant combines classic American fare with modern touches, and is banking on drawing a younger, hipper diner to Lincoln Center
By Adelle Brodbeck
Lincoln Square Through the combined efforts of a diverse staff, the Lincoln Center Kitchen officially opened to the public last Tuesday in the foyer of Avery Fisher Hall.
Part casual, part upscale, the Lincoln Center Kitchen provides an approachable dining experience for a wide range of customers. Both executive chef and beverage program coordinator agreed on one major factor that went in to the creation of the restaurant: expanding clientele.
Located beneath the performance area for the New York Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Kitchen wants to feed off of the classical energy as well as build upon it. Most of the Lincoln Center dining areas are geared to accompany performances; the Kitchen does as well, but with some twists.
With a late night menu and a hip cocktail list, the Kitchen provides a new angle to Lincoln Center. April Wachtel created the beverage menu with a mind to the restaurant's theme: American fare with flair.
Wachtel said that she wanted to be able to take classic cocktails and improve them, which turned out to be "one of the most difficult things to do." She said that she aimed to adjust the original drinks enough to where they could attract new customers, but not too much to where they would become unfamiliar and "scary."
Some of her creations include the Manhattanite that takes bitters to the next level and the French 65, which incorporates an entirely new spirit derived from cacao.
Although Wachtel said that the dinner menu was established separately, she designed a beverage menu that can partner seamlessly with a meal.
"I wanted to make drinks that would be delicious on their own," Wachtel said. "But I had seen the menu prior and I wanted to create drinks that would pair with the food as well."
The innovator behind the dining menu, Chef Ed Brown, presents a wide range of options from snacks to full on entrees. The Smoked Salmon Wedge and the Wild Mushroom Popovers have proven to be appetizer staples, while the Berkshire Pork Chop and the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake are stars of the main dishes. A new take on American dessert is also present with the Bourbon Caramel Bread Pudding.
Executive chef Daniel Anconetani, will be carrying out the day-to-day operations in the kitchen after having received the necessary instructions from Brown.
Anconetani agreed with Wachtel in the mission of pairing good food and drinks as a way to attract a different audience to Lincoln Center. "Most people don't think of the Philharmonic for younger people," said Anconetani. "But they have been doing some cool stuff lately."
He said he hopes that the later hours and the Kitchen's environment will help to introduce a more varied crowd to the area.
The Lincoln Center Kitchen provides a spacious divided seating experience with high top tables as well as seats at the bar and a more private and formal space towards the back. The entire dining area contains a little more than 190 seats.
For those who may not want to blow a paycheck in one sitting, the light starter courses range from $12-$20 with an option for a spicy cashew bar snack at $7. On the other side, customers are given the opportunity to indulge with entrees reaching the high of $40 for the prime rib, or with a pre-fixe meal of kale salad, Bell and Evans Chicken Pot Pie, and a choice of dessert at $47.
Lincoln Center Kitchen is located at 10 Lincoln Square Plaza and is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday 5 p.m.-11 p.m., and for lunch of Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. when there is a matinee performance.