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Incanto meat fest w/ photos


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Incanto meat fest w/ photos

Carb Lover | Jul 7, 2006 07:03 AM

Y and I had a very good dinner at Incanto this past Sat. night. First time and won't be our last. Overall, I thought they excelled at the meat-heavy dishes while the one pasta and desserts were relatively weak.

The highlight that had us swooning and crooning was the antipasto platter of house-made salumi and marinated veggies ($18):

It was a work of art and labor of love in every way, and my favorites were the fluffy, elegant mortadella and country-style pate w/ tangy whole-grain mustard. Different flavors and textures skillfully unified by different appearances of anise. Paired well w/ a glass of the Murgo Brut NV ($11.50) w/ a floral quality and ultra fine bubbles.

Then we had a salad of purslane and potato w/ guanciale and sherry vinaigrette ($8.50):
Not being familiar w/ purslane, it tasted like lamb's lettuce w/ stems attached. Very fresh and I liked the rustic crunch of stems. Fried guanciale was nicely crisp, smoky, and salty. Very balanced dish.

We decided to forgo entrees for smaller plates and shared the grilled beef heart w/ shaved peach, basil, and baby arugula ($9.50):

and signature handkerchief pasta w/ rustic pork ragu ($14):

Y really enjoyed the beef heart salad. I thought it was very interesting and well-executed, but couldn't eat much by myself. Texture was firm like duck, and flavor had that iron-rich tinge that either you like or don't. The accompaniments were very thoughtful and pretty w/ a nice dusting of cracked pepper.

The pasta dish was a bit disappointing since we found it quite salty and overly sauced for the pasta. The pillowy swatches of pasta were lovely though. Nice generous portion.

We shared a glass of the 96 Ciabot Berton Barolo ($13.50) during the latter half of the meal. Categorized under their "rich and full-bodied" section, it was voluptuous and cigar-like...very captivating.

We had room for dessert so were tempted by the lemon verbena panna cotta w/ blueberries and mint ($7.50):

and Santa Rosa plum torta w/ olive oil gelato ($7.50):
The candle was there in recognition of our anniversary, which I had indicated on the online reservation form in hopes of getting a good table.

I was bummed they didn't have the bay leaf panna cotta. The components of both desserts just didn't integrate well for me. The panna cotta was drowned in a mint-infused simple syrup that defeated the ethereal texture of the cream. The tuile-like cookie was too thick and gritty. I enjoyed the olive oil gelato, but the plum cake didn't do much for me.

All in all, a memorable, stimulating meal that gave us lots to ponder over and enjoy. Good value for such personal and unique food. Service was adequate and efficient, but our waiter was a bit too business-like for me. Mark Pastore and Chris Cosentino were clearly present, and the place was packed and buzzing but not unpleasantly noisy. If I lived in the neighborhood, I could see myself coming regularly to explore the seasonal menu and wine list...and have more of the antipasti, of course. Bar area seems very cozy and inviting.

Incanto website:

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