Restaurant Guide 2013: Lincoln

3808 N Williams Ave., 288-6200, 

[LIFE OF LINCOLN] If "Portland" itself were a restaurant genre, a joint like Lincoln would typify the style. It's casual fine dining done well—classy but not pretentious, eclectic but not obscure. Chef Jenn Louis, who also operates the Sunshine Tavern, strives for ingredient-focused comfort food with an elegant simplicity. Though the menu morphs with the seasons, from roasted nectarines to pickled figs, the underlying influences remain constant: fresh, simple flavors married with nostalgic comfort. Without hurling superlatives lightly, the crunchy cornmeal onion rings are the best you will ever have, and the fresh, creamy burrata is good enough to make even committed vegans reconsider their life choices. The entrees add hearty decadence with offerings like succulent rabbit leg and a hefty rib-eye that doesn't skimp on the blue-cheese butter. For dessert, plan to split something like the small but potently sweet brutti ma buoni, a hazelnut meringue cookie with creme fraiche and rhubarb conserva. The overall effect of a meal at Lincoln is a mildly euphoric satisfaction. Kind of like life in Portland. 

Ideal meal: The grilled octopus starter, the burrata (mozzarella) with fresh bread and seasonal sides, the strawberry spritz for two and a warm summer evening.

Best deal: The cornmeal onion rings are only $7 for a plate full of deep-fried joy.

Pro Tip: Make a reservation and you might be able to score one of the cozy corner booths with a view of the sunset.

5:30 pm-close Tuesday-Saturday. $$$.


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