I can already hear the broken record of my words but nevertheless I am going to say it again… “it is so awesome to be living in South Boston right now!” Our newest addition to the nicer and somewhat finer dining restaurants in this area named Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant has recently opened and to a positive response.
I decided to wait a couple of weeks before I stopped by and made my first visit last Thursday. The place is absolutely enormous and the first thing you notice is all of the beautiful dark wood and exposed brick. There are two rooms. The first one you enter hosts a 50ft long mahogany bar with booth, café style, high table and bar dining. All working in a beautiful vintage look harmony with each other to give that old Tavern feel. No pomp and circumstance, just a good old (modern day) tavern. The front restaurant leads into another area that is more open with a smaller bar and room at the back for the small stage. Apparently, they are hoping to get a live music license (that’s the story?) They also have a huge pull down screen for game nights.
We arrived around 6.30pm on Thursday to an absolutely packed establishment and a long line waiting at the hosts table. We decided to head straight for the bar. No room at the front bar but found standing room at the back area with a little more breathing room. No sooner had we arrived, we were immediately asked what we wanted to drink by the very attentive and friendly bartender. I did notice everyone seemed to have a smile on their face as they worked their way around this incredibly busy establishment.
While enjoying our wines we took a look at this new menu. I like that it isn’t overwhelmed with an abundance of choices and offers a wonderful looking selection of comfort foods with a twist, wood-fired pizzas, burgers and snacks if you just want a nibble of something. They also offer a late-night menu until 2.00am.
Our waitress came over and introduced herself; again there was a genuine smile for everyone. I asked her what her favorite dish on the menu is and she said the Short Ribs and the Seared Scallops. Not being a huge fan of red meat, I opted for the scallops and my friend, Kerry picked the Pumpkin Ravioli after a further recommendation from our waitress.
Before our entrées we started with the Tuna Tartare. Mild and fresh tiny bites of tuna combined nicely with a crunch of not too sweet pear. A sneaky little kick of paprika added something special and it tasted even better on the thinly sliced crustini. This appetizer is perfect for sharing and very light.
My scallops arrived with divine aromas that made my mouth water. Small seared slightly spiced scallops rested on creamy, beautifully whipped potatoes with crunchy green beans and sweetcorn, smattered with salty crumbled bacon. This is an absolutely lovely dish. I did try to avoid most of potatoes but it was so hard given how good (fattening) they are.
I tried a taste of Kerry’s Pumpkin Ravioli and know it will definitely be on my must have list for my next visit. Sweet pumpkin filled large pillows of nicely cooked pasta with a lovely marsala sauce.
To our surprise an extra dish was brought out for us to try. Rather than just a small taste each, I felt that we were given a full portion of the Short Ribs. A nice surprise from the Chef. I don’t really eat red meat but I did try these short ribs, which were just falling off the bone succulent pieces of shredded meat. Kerry thought they were amazing. However the best part for me was without question the truffled mac and cheese, which had me at a loss for words, it was that good. Definitely worth an order on its own.
We were checked in on often and always with a smile. When asked whether we wanted dessert, I almost laughed – we had eaten two entrées each! There was seriously no more room to try anything else, especially not dessert so we just sat for a while enjoying another glass of wine while watching the new and loud Lincoln crowd.
With the place being so packed and with very high ceilings and an open restaurant, it is very loud so you find yourself shouting in order to be heard. There is also a problem with people banging into you while constantly trying to get past or just people leaning against your chair. This may be a back room problem only. I had heard they are going to try and fix this by putting booths against the back wall (not 100% sure.) I think the issue could easily be fixed with a low wall between the bar and restaurant similar to the front, although I am sure that is not the look and feel they want. This is just a tiny complaint for a restaurant and bar I am so excited to have joined us in Southie and it will definitely not be long before I am going back and I am sure this is going to be one of my locals.
As it is still early and there is a huge buzz around Lincoln, I would suggest either going early or expecting a bit of wait both inside and outside, especially if you are arriving late. We left around 9.30pm on Thursday and the line outside was a long one. I am not sure if you can make reservations in advance? Something I need to find out.
Disclaimer… Luckily for me (and I do feel very lucky), I recognized an old friend who very kindly introduced me to the new manager and we got a table in the bistro-styled back area very quickly. I know there was a very long wait for a table so I do thank them.
This is a fun place with great food and as soon as it has settled down, I believe it will be a great local for us Southie folks to stop by with no fuss.