Tuesday, June 14, 2011

dinner at incanto, in which i finally meet....

(x-posted at my guammy blog)

one of my favourite blogs is ono kine grindz, which is based out of honolulu, but its author, reid, is a globetrotting kind of guy. we had made plans throughout the years to meet up in various corners of the globe, but finally managed to meet up for dinner at incanto, during a quickie trip to san francisco that i took with lovely miss yoony from another great food blog, immaeatchu.

incanto is the sort of restaurant that i wish was in every town--smartly casual and inviting, intimate and serious about its food. the menu is a market-dependent, with a rustic italian flare, and changes every day. chef chris cosentino is partial to offal and cuts of meat that most people would discard, but he manages to make the most of some of the most unusual parts.

even though we had to cancel our reservations and suddenly re-make them (hello highway 101! you have a lot to answer for!), the staff was gracious and accommodating, and we were seated in a cosy back room with only six tables (of which four were filled with other parties taking photos of all their food as well. and everyone was eavesdropping but pretending to ignore each other. ha. love this town.).

some of the things we ate:

incanto porchetta di testa

porchetta di testa, a pig's head salami made by marinating a de-boned head in rosemary in garlic, then braised for an eternity. if you really need to know, there's a video here, but it gets a little graphic.

incanto lardo

boccalone iberico di bellota lardo, nakita pear & mint: boccalone is the salumeria run by incanto's chef chris cosentino, and this is his version of cured acorn-fed spanish backfat. yes, lard. delicate, flavour-flavy fat. the sweet asian pear and sharp, herby mint was a wonderful complement.

incanto foie gras pig trotters

foie gras, trotters & citron marmellata: yeah, i'm not gonna lie. this was as rich--even richer, actually--than the backfat, as there was nothing that really cut through the sumptuousness of liver, and slowly braised pig's feet. i'm suddenly reminded of that soap opera "the bold and the beautiful". because it was.

incanto pulpo inzimino

pulpo inzimino, cavolo nero & aioli: baby squid cooked in its ink, with black kale and aioli. although more delicate than the pig's trotters, this one also had bold, pronounced flavours with the sweet, tender flesh of the squid playing nicely with the mild bitterness of the vegetable and the unctuous aioli.

incanto beef hearts

beef heart, sweetbreads, spinach & potato: i don't think i've ever had beef heart intentionally, nor sweetbreads, but this was a wonderful introduction. honestly, though, i don't remember their flavour apart from the rich jus, but the beef heart was tender yet with a slight chewiness, and the sweetbreads--that's thymus or pancreas to you--were slightly springy and fork tender.

incanto goat cheese stuffed figs

incanto sticky toffee pudding

for dessert we had goat cheese stuffed figs, honey & almonds and a darned tasty sticky toffee pudding & spice ice cream.

i wish i had something profound to say about it, but i don't. it is, however, what i consider to be the epitome of a great restaurant. and the food, the company, the surroundings, our crazy neighbour tables and conversation made for a great night out. mahalo, reid and yoony! hope we can do this again.

1550 church street
san francisco ca 94131


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