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Aug 25, 2007 12:01 PM

Why Incanto is great

Because you can sit at the bar, enjoying your figs and dish of angel hair topped with a full pint of the sweetest cherry tomatoes ever and listen to the chef outline, in great detail, for another food guy (i was told maybe his sous on iron chef? dunno) the best way to boil brains....not that i will ever attempt this but it's good to know that you should NOT drop the brains in quickly but rather, gently lower them into the water, as you would an egg, and bring up the temp. The best part is that the guy listening was also scarfing down a plate of various cow parts so i guess the idea of boiling brains feeds vs. deters his appetite. i love this place, even if I am more voyeuristic than anything else when it comes to stuff like that.

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  1. Yum! Now I know what I want you to cook for me next time. I was there a few weeks ago and had a head cheese like thing - basically a cow's head that had been stuffed with brains and many other goodies, then cooked and sliced into cross sections - truly spectacular...

    1 Reply
    1. re: BernalFarmer

      Actually, head cheese is the meat around the cow's head (tongue, cheek, ears, etc) that's boiled and cooked and reshaped into a terrine (minus the bones). Some head cheeses may contain meat and portions from the trotter. The gelatin comes from boiling of the head +/- trotters although I'm told some people still add gelatin these days. I've never had head cheese with brains in it though.

    2. ...because I can convince a table full of rather unadventurous eaters to try duck testicles, and everyone loved them.

      ...because every time I eat there I try at least one food that is new to me, and I always enjoy it.

      ...because the menu forces me outside of my comfort zone, and rewards open mindedness.

      ...because their superb wine by the 1/2 glass list and knowledgeable staff lets me enjoy a perfectly paired meal without spending a fortune.

      ...because their panna cotta might just be the best dessert in the Bay Area.

      ...because Chris Cosentino is a badass!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        We had the duck fries and really didn't like them. Nor were we sure what they were until we asked. I'd been reading about french fries in duck fat and was disappointed to get something else.

        The sweetbreads, on the other hand, were excellent.

      2. Because Chris and Mark are committed to seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients and honor their farming and ranching partners who deliver the bounty. Because Chris is reintroducing an art (use of offal meats) that must not be lost in an era of artificial abundance allowed by cheap oil. Because the food is very good, original, and well presented. Because the place is fun, nice to hang out in, and, given the artisanal quality, reasonably priced.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mdimock

          i am so glad that Incanto is on my restaurant list. i'm coming up tonight for work. duck balls? cow brains? yes please.

          1. re: eatdrinknbmerry

            .... because i can order 1/2 plates of most dishes on the menu and sample a lot

            .... because most of the diners there are adventurous and know what to recommend

            .... because i never thought that warming up olives takes them to a different level of taste

            .... because i can try calf brain, beef heart and tuna heart

            .... because the panna cotta has made me like desserts again (i smoke)

            .... because the bartender Edward is great at recommending wine to go w/ your dishes

            just went there last night and loved it. photos here:

            1. re: eatdrinknbmerry

              Yeah, the "small" size pasta option is great when you feel like your life will be incomplete if you don't eat at least half of the items on the menu...

              I also like that when I surreptitiously survey the food on other diner's tables to see if I've missed anything, they often recognize what I'm doing and tell me whether or not what I'm eying is great or merely good.

              The 3 half glass pours in the "mystery wine flight" are also a fun way to challenge your palate and explore obscure varietals or styles of wine making.

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