SF: Incanto

June 28th, 2010

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My first meal in SF was an early birthday dinner at Incanto, Chris Cosentino’s Italian offal house in Noe Valley has long been on my wishlist of places to eat, but was never convenient when I was in town. This trip, I made time for it.
The food after the jump.

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Just days before my visit, incanto revealed a new menu including most sensationally, pastramied beef tongue. Clearly, I had to try it.
I was most surprised how much it tasted just like any other pastrami, which makes sense, I guess. The preparation involves curing in salt then smoking, which all imparts a pretty distinct flavor, regardless of the cut.
Given that, the soft, fleshy texture of tongue is what made it interesting.
It was served as a play on the traditional sandwich atop a bed of shredded cabbage tossed with a vinegary dressing and with a smear of spicy mustard on the side.
It all worked very well, but I’d be lying if it didn’t make me crave a pile of fatty pastrami on Rye from Katz’s.
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My pasta course was a small bowl of parpardelle with pork ragu. It’s so simple, but ridiculously satisfying: great, fresh pasta topped with a rich, meaty sauce.
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I finished with grilled sweetbreads, a preparation I’d never seen before. Small char marks added a smokey dimension without blowing away the subtle flavors. It works very well and I would have it again, but a necessary problem with the way it’s done is that more of the tough connective tissue between the lobes were left in, so it was a bit
chewier that I’d have liked. Still, it was a win.


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