Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lincolns and Short Ribs

The Lincoln Motor Company rolled into Cleveland late last week to offer a unique event. They had partnered with Chef Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit in Tremont. The event was open to the public. It was simple. Make a reservation at the restaurant during the special event, test drive a Lincoln (your choice from several models), take two surveys (before and after), and then you could enjoy a complimentary three-course meal with two cocktails at the restaurant. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it was even better than I had expected.

Each of these events in their national tour has a PR focus to tell the story of how the Lincoln Motor Company is reinventing themselves as a brand. What do you think of Lincolns? I'm going to be completely honest. I have always viewed them as an "old person's car" and way too high out of our price range. Same with Buick. It looks like these brands are trying to tell a different story recently. The new Buick commercial is kind of funny, where people can't "find" the Buick because it looks too cool and reinvented. This national tour of Lincoln's is trying to achieve the same thing. Refresh the brand and expose people to the cars that may not have thought to test drive one before.

Unfortunately, it was POURING rain on Wednesday night. Hence, no pictures of the car or our test drive. We almost didn't keep our reservation. However, a tiny break in the rain encouraged us to pop up to Tremont, and I'm glad that we did. We test drove the Lincoln MKX crossover. This car starts at $38,575. Of course, you can get much higher with it fully loaded, but its starting price was lower than I had expected out of this larger crossover. We took it for a spin around Tremont, and it was incredibly quiet and smooth to drive. This particular model had most of the bells and whistles. Some of which are just worth paying for these days. "R" was drooling over the air conditioned seats. Not only can you have a warm bum in the winter, but a cool bum in the summer! The test drive and survey only took about ten minutes, and then we were whisked into the dining room of Fahrenheit. Not knowing what to expect for food from a free event, I was shocked when the event included a true three-course meal. Guests had the option to choose from a pre-selected list of Fahrenheit favorites.

We did the stuffed dates and pork belly steam buns for the first course.
"R" had the lobster macaroni and cheese, and I couldn't say no to the chance to have Rocco's famous Kobe Beef Short Ribs. It's been years since I've had them, and there is a reason that they are well-known. So tender, juicy, and Asian-inspired, they did not disappoint.

We finished the meal with dessert. I had the Chocolate Pot de Creme (not as good as I thought it would be), and "R" tried the Roasted Apple Crostata.
See the cute Lincoln symbol on the plate?!

We also enjoyed two (strong) cocktails each during the meal. All for just driving a car and giving our honest feedback.

I don't think that it increased my likelihood of considering a Lincoln during my next car purchase, or my perception of who owns Lincolns. We were considerably younger than the average diner at the event. However, it did expose us to a car that we may have gone out to test drive on our own, and its quality was certainly obvious. I loved the double sunroof, back-up assistance, quiet ride, and the thought of cool leather seats during the humid months in Cleveland. I appreciate that they are trying to change their image and make the brand more accessible, and what a fun way to do that! The restaurant was packed the entire time that we were there, despite the miserable weather conditions. Thanks for the drive and dine, Lincoln! Look for them in a city near you.

Disclosure: This event was free and open to the public with restaurant reservations. I was contacted by a media company representing Lincoln Motor Company to attend the event in exchange for this post and my honest feedback during the test drive. I did not receive anything that the public attendees did not receive. All opinions are 100% my own.