The picturesque dining room at Lincoln Ristorante overlooks Lincoln Center, the Henry Moore sculpture, and the reflecting pool. The opera crowd dines on modern Italian cuisine while they people watch through the all glass walls of the restaurant. In the center of the dining room is the kitchen, completely in view so diners can also witness the preparation of their dinner if they’re not looking out the window.
Chef Richard Capizzi heads the dessert program at Lincoln. He grew up on Long Island in a Sicilian and Neapolitan family, spending time working in Italian bakeries. At the Culinary Institute of America, he did internships with such legendary chefs as Jean-Louis Palladin and Jacques Torres. After opening the first Bouchon Bakery (and each location following), he became the pastry chef at Per Se. Capizzi decided to join executive chef Jonathan Benno at Lincoln for the opportunity to make desserts inspired by his Italian heritage while still at a Michelin star level. He explains, “Some of the desserts I serve — such as the pastiera di granno we just made for Easter at the restaurant — are my grandmother’s exact recipes!”
At Lincoln, it’s all about exploring how creative he can be while keeping his desserts grounded in classic flavors. For example, Capizzi’s torta sabbiosa is polenta cake, fennel meringue custard, fennel marmellata, and lemon sorbetto, which while also being a creative and delicious dessert, is also somewhat reminiscent of lemon meringue pie. This dessert is part of Lincoln’s rotating seasonal and regional menu, currently focused on the northern Italian region of Veneto.
Chef Capizzi says of mastering pastry, "In pastry, it's more about mastering techniques than individual desserts. The techniques carry over to a myriad of different applications." He shows this in the Pistachio Genovese in his Girandola dessert.
The sesame seed coated candied nuts are an homage to the New York City candied nut street vendors.
Jane Bruce is the Photo Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @janeebruce.