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Thoughts on Incanto

Sixy Beast | Jan 27, 200509:17 AM

Incanto - 1550 Church Street - Noe Valley - San Francisco - CA

Incanto - 1550 Church Street - Now Valley - San Francisco - CA - 415 641 4500
A decent enough little neighbourhood place...

Things I really liked about Incanto:
- The generous bread basked contained what appeared to be homemade bread sticks and savoury crackers. Delicious. I have never eaten so many bread sticks in one sitting.
- One complimentary litre of house-filtered Hetchy Hetchy Water (still or sparkling). Refills appeared at no extra charge.
- Dessert - the creamy panna cotta was superb, with a contrasting marmalade-like bitter kumquat accompaniment.
- Wine pairings - I asked the waitress to recommend a wine to match the dessert. She went to ask the chef and I was brought a fantastic 2003 Moscadello di Montalcino 2003 Caprili, sweet, slightly sparkling dessert wine. An excellent match and a delicious wine I hope to try again soon.
- Each wine by the glass is labeled. This is a totally brilliant idea. You can keep a note of what you ordered, what you particularly liked, and you can even take home the labels, which sit around the base of the glass, as a reminder of what you drank .
- The Red Thumb Potatoes that were a backdrop for my appetizer of Grilled Prather Ranch Beefheart & Salsa Rustica $9 were perfectly dressed and tasted delicious. The meat itself was a little more ordinary than I had expected and was overpowered by the large chunks of raw garlic in the salsa.

Things I didn't really like about Incanto:
- The bread portions in the otherwise excellent bread basket were dry and verging on stale.
- A 5% service charge is added to the bill "enabling us to share the awards of serving you with out non-tipped kitchen employees"
- The Handkerchief pasta with rustic pork ragu $14 had obviously been lovingly prepared in detail. Too bad they forgot to season it quite enough.
- My Chestnut papparedelle with duck conserva & chestnuts, $16, was slightly on the dry side, and again, underseasoned causing it to be more bland than I would have liked. I would have preferred a more succulent pasta. The duck itself, thankfully, was a little more juicy.
- The waitress offered to comp one of our items (we ordered it by mistake after a our sorry knowledge of Italian let us down). However, it was still on the bill when the time came to pay. We didn't ask or expect for our misorder to be comped, but because the offer was given, we expected it to be honoured.
- The prosecco, by the glass, was almost flat.
- Apart from my disappointing, less than bubbly, aperitif, a flight of Spicy Southern Reds was unexceptional. I wish I'd saved the $30 round-trip taxi fare and driven instead.

Other Observations:
- The menu is rustic, don't expect 'chi-chi'. I might describe it as peasant food.
- The service was fussy on the surface but lacked depth.
- Another wine chosen, by the glass, was superb.
- Neighbouring diners were bought a small plate of charcuterie (not featured on the menu). When we asked for the same thing, we were told it wasn't possible.

Would I go again? I wouldn't make another special journey, but if I lived in the neighbourhood, I probably would.

Link: http://www.incanto.biz/

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