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Incanto "Head to Tail" dinner

Robert Lauriston | May 24, 200512:16 PM

Not only was the dinner inspired by Fergus Henderson, the man himself was at a nearby table, as was Bruce Aidells. We ate:

Crispy fried pig ears - cold salty chewy snack, flavor of pork cracklings with the texture of dried squid; really good with Murgo Brut, a unique Sicilian sparkling wine made from nerello mascalese

Shaved tripe salad with shaved fennel, parsley & lemon - delicate, delicious, wonderful contrasting textures

Liver & kidney pie with pickled ramps - chunky country-style pate, the pickled ramps were a nice contrast to the rich meat

Pig's brain bruschetta - another wonderful contrast between the soft, rich brains (taste a bit like very rich scrambled eggs) and the smoky, crunchy toast

Grilled lamb heart with sweet pea & fava bean mash & mint-horseradish salsa - one of the best dishes I've had anywhere, ever; the subtle sweetness of the vegetable puree was a great foil for the intense lamb flavor

Pork testa & grilled liver with salsa verde & chitterlings with rosemary potatoes & aioli - "testa" was basically pork fat confit, it and the rare liver were great with the salsa verde; chitterlings were so thin and crisp they almost seemed like crackers

Chocolate blood pudding with cherries - lovely panna cotta, tasted like Mexican chocolate, I wouldn't have guessed there was blood in it

Overall I'd say that you wouldn't have had to be a huge innards lover to enjoy this meal. Only the "pie" and the grilled liver had intense organ-y flavors.

Chef Chris Cosentino told us the USDA made Prather Ranch start "bleaching" its tripe so he bought all 110 pounds of "unbleached" they had in stock. Also said the pudding was about 3 parts blood to 4 parts cream.

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