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Ranitidine and I had dinner here last week, on the recommendation of Chef David Kinch, and liked it a lot (although not as much as we liked Manresa, of course.) Based on his description I expected a much simpler place. To start, I had purslane and potato with (housemade) guanciale and sherry vinaigrette; R. had cucumber and radish salad with bottarga. Mains were R's spaghettini con le sarde with garlic, wild fennel, currants and pine nuts and my lip-smacking roasted lamb neck with polenta, charred onions and broccoli di ciccio.

 

We both had wine flights, R., the "elegant northern whites" and I, the Tuscan trifecta. I like the way the featured wines were arranged and described the regular menu, decoding Italian wines in an approachable way. A flight consists of three wine, in 2 1/2 oz. pours, with labels on each glass so you know what you're drinking. The wine list is impressive.

 

The food was hearty and tasty, with many Sicilian touches, but simple at the same time. Well, Italian. This place would be a favorite of ours if it were in NYC.

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  • 8 months later...

http://incanto.biz/

 

I have heard some good things about this restaurant and Chef Chris Cosentino before going.. I really like offal and enjoy when Chefs like getting into it.. Besides offering an offal tasting menu, the chef here also does whole beast dining.. So a group of friends can come together and enjoy an entire animal.. I feel that whole beast dining is the best way to gain respect and knowledge for an animal while dining.. Most often food comes all dressed up from this formless or shapeless animal.. Not to even bring the chicken nugget type things into it the conversation, but its hard for some people to even look at a cow and know where there filet comes from.. Its nice to know that nothing is going to waste..

 

However, making a reservation 20 minutes prior to going and not having a offal friendly group, we ordered off the menu.. Now offal and group dining are not the only reason to go here.. The wine list is incredible, the make their own salumi, the menu changes often, and the food is very seasonal and local.. Oh and things taste good too!

 

I forgot to take a lot of photos at this dinner. Hey I needed a break and the lighting was dark.

 

Started with a pasta dish ..It was very Sicilian.. Pine nuts, currants, sardines, and fennel tops.. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. Really nice quality of product, I ordered a half portion for my primi..

 

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Next up was Lamb Neck.. I thought it was going to be stuffed but this was braised.. Had a really interesting crust on the outside.. I was unable to place any of the flavors.. I should have asked.. The polenta was wonderful.. Definitely marscapone, maybe another grain in there.. I have seen people do this before. It was super fluffy.. Really wonderful.. Served with some bitter greens too..

 

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Some other people at the table got Chicken Fra Diablo which was really wonderful.. Whole chicken cooked perfectly, very juicy, had a lot of spice to it..

 

My girlfriend had this pork dish that was braised forever.. Served over beans.. Rancho, I think you should call on these guys..

 

My uncle had a lovely fish with a clam and parsley broth..

 

We ordered a couple of bottles of really nice wine..

 

I wish this place was in New York.. They seem to be doing some really fun and adventurous things here..

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I quite like Incanto. I enjoy sitting at the bar, and the salumi and offal are great.

 

I think there might be another Incanto thread or two, mods.

 

The wine list has some very good things on it, but of course one might make an adjustment or two.

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I really like Incanto, as well. One of the (many) things I love is that you can arrange to have them serve a dinner based around a whole-roasted pig, lamb or goat. They also do a special tasting menu called "Il Quinto Quarto", featuring offal.

 

Check out chef Chris Cosentino's blog, "Offal Good".

 

My fear is that after the Iron Chef America episode with Cosentino vs. Batali, it will be impossible to get into Incanto!

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I really like Incanto, as well. One of the (many) things I love is that you can arrange to have them serve a dinner based around a whole-roasted pig, lamb or goat. They also do a special tasting menu called "Il Quinto Quarto", featuring offal.

 

Check out chef Chris Cosentino's blog, "Offal Good".

 

My fear is that after the Iron Chef America episode with Cosentino vs. Batali, it will be impossible to get into Incanto!

 

This is very exciting for me -- for the first time in my life, I have a partner who will eat innards with me and we are looking forward to trying this out!

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  • 8 months later...

We had a great dinner here on Saturday night, the place was filled to the rafters- loud and bustling!

 

We started with the crispy pig's head terrine which was served with a nice little bitter green- it was sooo good and the people at the table next to us said it looked like a toaster hash brown! :lol:

 

next up we shared the chicken liver agnolotti in balsamic brown butter sauce- yum!!

 

and finally we shared the lambs next which looked just like daniels photo. it had a wonderfully gamey flavor and that crust is awesome. portions are large and filling - we couldn't finish it all!

 

a nice barolo was decanted and kept by our waiter which we appreciated.

 

we shared the mystery dessert flight of wine and also a gingerbread dessert thing that I can't quite remember now! :ph43r:

 

great food and really good prices

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Common Ground, of all places, is currently featuring an article on Chef Cosentino and his culinary philosophy (check out the picture of the chef!):

 

For his almost missionary zeal in promoting offal-eating, Cosentino finds plenty of critics — he has even received death threats from animal rights activists. But knowing that Americans are going to continue to eat meat, he insists that head-to-tail is the only moral choice. “An animal is giving its life for you to eat,” he says. “Do it justice and eat every last piece. It’s just the right thing to do.”

Sounds like you had a great meal. Thanks for the report. Next time, be sure to have the duck "fries"... wonderful!

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Common Ground, of all places, is currently featuring an article on Chef Cosentino and his culinary philosophy (check out the picture of the chef!):

 

For his almost missionary zeal in promoting offal-eating, Cosentino finds plenty of critics — he has even received death threats from animal rights activists. But knowing that Americans are going to continue to eat meat, he insists that head-to-tail is the only moral choice. “An animal is giving its life for you to eat,” he says. “Do it justice and eat every last piece. It’s just the right thing to do.”

Sounds like you had a great meal. Thanks for the report. Next time, be sure to have the duck "fries"... wonderful!

 

I'm finding these animal rights activists tiresome. You scratch the surface a wee bit and there's a very different agenda.

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  • 2 months later...

This sounds like fun.

 

"5th Annual Farmers' Appreciation Dinner. Monday February 4, 2008. Join us for dinner with our favorite local farmers & ranchers. We will be seating all guests at communal tables along with the farmers. We strongly encourage all diners to arrive early in the evening, as many of the farmers need to depart early for a long trip home! For reservations, please telephone 415-641-4500 or book online."

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  • 9 months later...

The return from India of my beloved friend, Lisa, was not only a reason to celebrate, but also very timely as she is one of the few friends who is more culinarily adventurous than I am. She had actually sent me an e-mail from India that Chef Cosentino would be recreating his Iron Chef meal at Incanto. I've been chatting with Lisa about eating at Incanto for over a year so this special offering was more than timely! The special menu is only being offered on specific days for a short time through December.

 

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were brought back to the famous Dante Room. As it only holds a little more than a dozen people, I made the assumption that everyone in the room that evening would be dining on the special menu and was surprised to later that Lisa and I were the only ones that evening eating the special offering! I brought along a Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild, 1975 Bordeaux for the meal. We had a fabulous sommelier who had to muscle through a cork which was not easily extracted. Per his recommendation, the bottle was decanted, he cleaned out the original bottle with some house wine, and poured the decanted wine back into original bottle so that it would not open up too quickly. I offered tastes all around and it was agreed that it was a stunning bottle; redolent with molasses up front with subtle integrated spice. It was elegant and complex and we were not prepared for how stunning a pairing it would be for our meal.

 

First Course - Lamb Heart Tartare. Hands-down, this was the winning dish with the wine; with a bit of capers and herbs, one of the richest, most satisfying tartares I have ever had. What a fabulous start.

 

Second Course - Financziera Piedmontese - Cockscombs, Duck Bits, and Riso. Neither of us had ever eaten a cockscomb before and this was one of the ingredients we were both looking forward to. It was gelatinous and chewy without being tough. The duck bits included some testicles which were tender. The sauce was light and studded with lemon zest and thinly sliced garlic.

 

Third Course - "Turf & Surf"; Tripe and Clam. For this course, the sommelier recommended a glass of white and we were served a 2007 Anthìlia Donnafugata. My knowledge of Italian wine is extremely limited but we found this offering clean and enticing without being strident. There was a richness in well-integrated fruit that complemented the dish; a delightful combination of long strips of tender tripe and bits of clams. I'm not sure if it was crudo or not, but it was served crudo style with an elegant, light dressing.

 

Fourth Course - Country Fair Gut Fry. With a bit of whismy and wit, we were served a paper cone filled with deep-fried sweetbreads, chitterlins, and fresh chanetrelles with two sides, a spicy red sauce that was too spicy for me, and a creamy aïoli with herbs which was my preference. Not sure which bits we liked the best; my first taste was of a chitterlin but following it up with a fresh chanterelle was thrilling. Then to savor a crisp sweetbread and I was in fried bits heaven.

 

Fifth Course - Pig's Trotter with Bacon and Tarragon. We were getting really full and worried with the realization that the two of us could easily have shared a single order of the bounty of food we were being offered. Then the pig's trotter arrived and we were floored. The trotter was mounted over a poached apple which sat atop some bread cubes, bacon, and fresh tarragon. The apple was an inspiration to add a crisp tonality to the intensely rich sauce-stoked bread. A truly stunning dish that was my stand-out of the evening.

 

Sixth Course - Calves' Liver and Kidneys. We were definitely on the other side of being way too full at this point as our to-go packages were piling up. But a few bites were had as the two were offered with separate accompaniments; the calves' liver was served on a compote of spicy, shredded beets and the kidneys on yellow lentils. The two were a bit too disparate for my tastes and surprisingly, both meats were tougher than anticipated. It was my first calf kidney so I am unsure how "toothy" they can be, but I was surprised that the well-prepared liver was as hearty as it was.

 

Dessert - Yuzu Sorbet. Finally, to cleanse our palate, a tangy, bright sorbet and an after-meal visit by the Chef to see how we liked the evening's menu. He was incredibly gracious and I expressed my surprise that Lisa and I were the only two eating the sumptious meal that evening. Throughout the evening, I had the bird's eye view in to the kitchen and was able to watch his attentiveness and determination. It was an amazing meal and is completely inspiring to me to gather a bunch of friends to order Fifth Quarter meals in the future. There is nothing more exciting than to revel in the genius of Chef Cosentino and we San Franciscans should be very proud of his endeavors.

 

Lastly, apologies for the low-light iPhone photos. I didn't want to disturb the others in the Dante room with flashes. Pics on the blog.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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