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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
7.8
8.0
$50
Italian, Modern
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Tue–Sat 5:30pm–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.lincolnpdx.com

Mississippi Ave. Area
3808 N. Williams Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 288-6200
Lincoln
Interesting preps that have more promise on the page than the palate

Lincoln is a big, beautiful space; tall windows let in tons of light by day, which is replaced by a gentle, warm glow by night. There’s a fun buzz at peak times when the place gets loud, but not too loud. When the restaurant is slow, it still manages to be inviting, the warm staff more than happy to chat with you and give you recommendations. Even a meal at the bar is quite nice, as you feel incorporated into the coziness of it all, not like an alcoholic who’s more interested in the liquid component of his dinner.

But the solubles here are pretty recommendable. The cocktail list has some eye-catching selections, the lightest of which, on a recent visit, was the Elderflower Gimlet. Gin, Saint-Germain, lime juice, and simple syrup worked harmoniously to make this drink go down easy, yet it avoided any sticky sweetness. “El Diablo,” with tequila, lime juice, crème de cassis, and ginger ale, while heavier, still slides down the gullet with relative ease. The wine list is serviceable, and, refreshingly, most bottles will cost you less than $50. Largely French, it seems a bit unfocused, but mostly well chosen. The beer selection is also a bit scattered—mediocre at best, but subpar for Portland.

On to the grub. Amongst starters, we really like Spanish-influenced crispy eggplant with blue cheese dressing. The frying technique is spot on, making these little discs addictive, and their dip adds depth, creaminess, and that lovely fungusy flavor. Baked hen eggs, on a recent visit, were ordered by just about every table in the house, and they are indeed good. And creamy. A dish of tagliatelle with pork ragù, sage, and pecorino romano, on the other hand, was plagued with textural problems; the pasta was slightly overcooked and a little slippery, making it almost impossible to compose a bite with both pasta and pork. The meat was nicely cooked and deeply flavored, although slightly undersalted.

Prices can creep a little high, but if you tell yourself that it’s a premium for the pretty space and pretty people, it’s more worth it.

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