Incanto

by KimHo on November 29, 2010 · 10 comments under: Food,Restaurant,Travel



Incanto
1550 Church Street
San Francisco, CA
Incanto on Urbanspoon

Earlier this year, fellow blogger Chris of Eating is the Hard Part visited San Francisco and wrote of Incanto, the restaurant of celebrity chef Chris Cosentino. To those who do not know, Chris Cosentino’s, aside form rustic Italian cooking, has also participated in different TV shows, including his won Chef vs. City. However, what I care more is about *what* he cooks: in his menu, he includes offal dishes. Yes, cooking from head to tail and almost everything in between! So, when the FoodBuzz Food Festival was announced, restaurants plans were flying going back and forth. While JS/TS and Sherman had quite an extensive list, I had only two places in mind: Hamburgers (Sausalito) and, you guessed it, Incanto!

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Update: Sherman’s post is here; Mijune’s post is here.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

They also had some charcuterie right at the entrance!

In addition to “the usual suspects”, aka, JS/TS, Sherman and Mijune, who came along with cousin MY, we had the pleasure of having along Naomi (aka “The Gastro Gnome“) and Chowhounder Grayelf (who came along with family). In total, we had 10 people seated in the table. Unfortunately, I was seated in the far end of the table so I didn’t have much interaction with Naomi, Grayelf and family who were seated at other far end. That also means I didn’t take pictures of what they ordered (except for a couple of instances).

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Wines ordered by Naomi

Here is one thing about having a large dinner party with people you don’t necessarily know (in my case, I had TS on one side and MY on the other): We might be having a bit too much fun talking and ordering food… Well, for a while, that became secondary! However, we knew we had to order eventually so we started checking the menu. As for me, I was pretty much set from the very beginning. See, originally, when I found out the group was large enough for their prix fixe or their leg of the beast, I was pushing for it However, TS, who made the reservations, despite her heritage, didn’t want to know any of it. I guess it would have been a safe approach considering the composition of the party plus it would have given us more chances to try everything from their “regular” menu (which might partially be an oxymoron because their menu changes frequently). Anyway, by the time we got to make our order, some bread arrived:

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

There were three types of bread, the third one being a focaccia type bread. It was served with a tapenade which, for the most part, was fine. If I want to “complain” a bit about it would that I would have appreciated a bit more olive oil (given Chris Cosentino’s affinity for it) but, again, that’s nitpicking. As for the breads in general, there were OK, I wasn’t too picky about it.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

TS/JS started with two appetizers. To show you how much attention I paid, I will have to “guess” what these were based on the receipt: “Rapini, Baccala (sic?) & Lemon” and “Local Sardines & Sunflower”. I didn’t try these so there isn’t much I can say… :/

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

On his side, Sherman ordered cod milt & duck egg. I won’t try to describe this dish because, truth is, I couldn’t get past this serie of tweet:

@Sherman38: @followmefoodie just had milt (spirit of cod) and she swallowed!
@followmefoodie: Just tried @Sherman38 ‘s milt (spirit cod)… I did swallow… BUT so did he
@Sherman38: And she got it all over her face too!
@Sherman38: She thought it was a bit salty…

And you guys thought the “rack” incident was enough?! O_o

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

While waiting for the second appetizer, Grayelf passed us their “main” appetizer which was the “Mystery Flight” for you. I think it was more on the lines of salumi platter… I didn’t try it so I won’t comment about it.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

By then, our second appetizer started to arrive. Here, MY’s spaghetti with tuna heart. I will have to admit, this was a strange dish. You would think that the tuna heart will have a fishy taste, but, actually it wasn’t, instead, it was a bit earthy. It seems there was an egg yolk there (which I didn’t scoop a bit off when I tried it) and it added some creaminess to the dish. Can anybody say “Alfredo”?

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Sweetbreads, potato and green walnuts salsa (?). In a testament of how English is a messed language, these aren’t sweet nor are breads (if you don’t know what it is, not sure if you want to know!). I had a piece of it and found these average? Now, it wasn’t bad by any stretch, just that the end result wasn’t necessarily exciting. The crispiness was appreciated and that would be something that would entice people coming back for this dish. I just wanted some additional layer of flavour.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Paccheri al nero, Mijune’s appetizer. Here, squid ink is used to prepare the pasta but, truth is, I can’t necessarily say I could have “tasted” it – this is a straight comparison to my dish (more of that in a moment). As for the seafood, it was cooked to a good consistency so, from that perspective I won’t complain. Having said that, the dish is good but not necessarily extraordinary.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

As for me, I went for something that might gross a lot of people: (pig) blood pappardelle, served with raisins and sage. One thing not really noticeable is the consistency of the pasta – compared to the other dishes, specially Mijune’s, these felt undercooked. However, that might be because of the pig’s blood: had it been cooked slightly more, I would be willing to be the end result would have been similar to overcooked pork blood cubes, i.e., a somewhat metallic taste. So, as is, while you could tell it was based on it, it wasn’t overwhelming. And the butter and sage was actually a good combination (herby, buttery, what more do you want??? :D) and the raisins gave it a sweet taste. In other words, a contrast of texture and taste!

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Finally (?), the entrees. TS and JS ordered two versions of risotto: one with mushroom and one with “best part of the chicken”, which ended up being the skin, chicken oyster, thigh and I think I saw some gizzard and chicken heart. In both cases, the rice was cooked as it should and, out of the two, the chicken was “better”. In the case of the mushroom one (if memory serves me, it was mostly chanterelle but might be mistaken as I don’t recall tasting the mushroom), there wasn’t anything wrong just that it felt too… Average? As for the chicken, it did show up a bit more but, still in the end, well, the usage of those parts of the chicken didn’t necessarily blow me away (I had chicken thighs, I think). Good dish, still.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Mijune’s entree: California yellowtail. Sorry, didn’t write down the rest of the details of this dish. From the small piece I tried, I found it was… Meh? I didn’t find anything exciting and, except for a slight fishiness, it was mostly a blank palette. For a piece of fish, I thought it could be better or tried be more creative. Don’t recall trying the pumpkin so I will leave that to Mijune, given it was her dish…

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Sherman’s dish, the porkbelly. Let’s face it, other than raw/undercooked pork belly, how you can go wrong with this? This piece of braised porkbelly was what it was supposed to be: A bit of crispiness which gave it some initial resistance to the fork but once you pass that initial token “resistance”, it was melt in your mouth almost. The interesting part is that the side of arugula provided some contrasting bitterness to the otherwise sweet taste of that piece of pork belly. Did somebody say balance? Yup, from that perspective, it was good…

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

MY’s dish: Pomegranate-glazed poussin, almost a Cornish hen type fowl. Believe it or not, this ended up being the best dish of the night (or, at least on my side of the table). Did somebody say simplest dish works better? In this case, the pomegranate provided some unique sweetness to the “chicken”, which, well, simply worked. Now, despite it looks “burned”, that’s not necessarily the case, it was just caramelizing. Mostly a blank palette that works.

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Finally, my dish: offal bollito misto, mustard, salsa verde & horseradish (the sauces on a side, picture not taken). Despite my love for offal, this dish simply didn’t work for me. When it was served originally, the broth wasn’t there: it was poured at the table. I was a bit distracted when the components were described to me, what I do recall are the foei gras (?!) sausage (closest to the plate), some pork belly (to the bottom left), tongue (top left) and chicken thigh. For the most part, this dish failed for me. While I knew it would be a soup-y dish, the fact it was “assembled” at the table meant the individual components were cooked independently. In other words, they didn’t necessarily “mix” together from the very beginning but, rather, it seemed forced together. If they were to served with broth, I think it would have been better had sausage be served “bangers” style (as in bangers and mash, though unlikely as it was extremely soft due to the fat), the tongue be served Chinese style and then the broth be added by the diner rather than in the bowl itself.

In the end, the dinner was actually quite an experience of its own but, as usual, the dining companions helped. As for the food itself, while some of the “odd” dishes failed, the “normal” ones worked well. So, I do appreciate the fact the attempt to cook offal was made, still, in the end it felt slightly short (either that or, because I eat offal so often, it didn’t meet my expectations). Even then, I believe the restaurant overall did provide what it was supposed to and, from that perspective, that experience was worth it.

Oh, one more thing: I was really tired at that point and partially asleep. At that point, Mijune, Sherman and the rest of the gang ordered dessert:

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

Incanto, San Franciso, Chris, Cosentino, Church Street, offal, restaurant, haute cuisine, squid, salad, seafood, boccalone, cold meat, platter, rapini, baccala, sardines, cod, milt, duck, egg, piglet, antipasto, yellowtail, crudo blood, pappardelle, paccheri, sweetbreads, chicken, risotto, pork, mushroom, offal, bollito, misto, pasta, yellowtail, pumpkin, pork belly, belly, pomegranate, poussin, douglas, fir, panna cotta, pear, bread, pudding, celery, root, cake

As for these, I will leave Sherman and Mijune describe them! Once again, Sherman’s post is here; Mijune’s post is here.

(side note: Chris Cosentino wasn’t in the kitchen that night we were there)



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elaine November 29, 2010 at 4:31 am

I love pig blood! But I have never seen it cooked like that before hehehe~

2 The Celiac Husband November 29, 2010 at 5:14 am

Having grown up across the street from the village butcher, sweetbread was a frequent treat in our house.
As well as kindeys and other interesting animal parts.

However, I find here in North America that Chefs overthink innerts and it turns out to be nowhere near as distinct as in Austria’s kitchens.

3 KimHo November 29, 2010 at 10:00 am

Elaine2, I will safely assume they got the pig blood in liquid form; if that’s the case, it would have been easily added to the pasta as a liquid (similar to squid ink). Yup, indeed, if you didn’t tell people, they won’t have known it was pig blood!

Peter, I guess the phrase “meat and potatoes” answers a lot of questions… Agreed, about NA chefs; however, that is because offal does not necessarily have much general acceptance and they have to jazz it up somehow. As for us who have it before, well, you know… :)

4 Mijune November 29, 2010 at 11:17 am

Thanks for the shout outs Kim! See for someone who doesn’t eat offal often, like myself, I really loved this restaurant. I’m actually quite proud of myself for looking past the pig’s blood and cod sperm. Yes, you can say I eat visually sometimes, but nonetheless I came here with an open mind. I love how you put the tweets in there… lol makes it so dirty and thus more entertaining :) I’ll take 1-2 or in Sherman’s case 3-4 for the team!

5 Sherman November 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Hey, thanks for the suggestion Kim. Incanto was a great idea and experience. Sure, not everything was to my liking; but considering the variety of dishes we had, they are pretty spot on with the execution. That is quite a feat with the amount of food we ordered. And… your pictures make mine like like crap… or offal…

6 KimHo November 29, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Mijune, I didn’t want to go there about that tweet but let you say it all… ^_^;;;

Sherman, hey, thanks again for putting up with me on this trip! :D C’mon dude, give yourself some credit with your pictures!

7 Chris November 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm

One of the best meals I ate in San Francisco, so thank you for the shout out.

Too bad your table couldn’t conquer the Leg of Beast, as that would have been great to see.

8 KimHo December 1, 2010 at 7:11 am

Chris, having 8 people agree in it to order the leg would have been difficult… I guess not everybody is as crazy adventurous as some of us. Oh, well.

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