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Offal/"fifth quarter" places besides Incanto? [San Francisco]

orezscu Oct 21, 2007 05:22 PM

Incanto seems to have a reputation for offal and odd "fifth quarter" cuts and preparations, but their online menu doesn't evince that many unusual bits of meat. Is it different in person?

Also, what other restaurants in SF are starting to do, or have been doing, unusual meats now that offal is officially trendy? I'm particularly interested in European places of any stripe, as well as Central and South American places. Thanks for any help.

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    Amy G Oct 21, 2007 08:26 PM

    If you want European, you could try SPQR. Went back for a second dinner last night, late, after the symphony. They had 3 excellent offal dishes which we happened to order. They had Roman style tripe, fried sweetbreads, and fried chicken livers. The tripe and sweetbreads stood out. They also did fix the noise issue and for me at least it feels like a whole different place. SPQR has a more low key feel which I really like. If they served the A16 pizza and cured meats (bresaola and lonza are the best in the Bay Area IMHO), I would have no reason to put with A16's din.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Amy G
      orezscu Oct 21, 2007 09:10 PM

      That sounds like exactly what I was looking for - thanks. How was the tripe prepared and served?

    2. Carrie 218 Oct 21, 2007 09:36 PM

      I ate at SPQR last Wednesday before the opera and had tripe, a FABULOUS pigs trotter croquet, sweetbreads, and chicken livers.

      The tripe was well-prepared in a light, savory tomato sauce. I had had the sweetbreads before and was thrilled with the bounty of crispy-fried offerings with pickled sliced celery. The pigs trotter croquet was simply amazing - about the size of a small avocado, deep fried for a crispy exterior and tender and stringy inside; so moist and flavorful.

      1. pane Oct 22, 2007 08:14 AM

        Incanto is Italian. The menu usually includes a few types of offal. The duck "fries" on the online menu are actually testicles, I think.

        If you want to go all out on offal, you can order their fifth quarter tasting menu: http://incanto.biz/quintoquarto.html. Occasionally on Mondays they have special set menus (like the "Head to Tail" dinner) that include more offal that the usual menu. I've had fish maw, lots of liver, and candied cock's combs in the past.

        If you have a group, and would like to (literally) go whole hog, you can try whole beast dining and have an entire goat, sheep or pig.

        1. Morton the Mousse Oct 22, 2007 01:30 PM

          Lets see, my last meal at Incanto I had duck testicles, duck giblets, duck liver, head cheese, shaved tuna heart, and sweetbreads - and that was not even one of their special offal meals. If you really want to have an offal party, you can organize a special fifth quarter dinner for a group, or attend their annual head to tail dinner. Here's a review with pics of a past Head to Tail meal:


          1. Robert Lauriston Mar 7, 2012 09:35 PM

            A couple of new options, Locanda and Bocadillos both have offal sections on their menus. Any others?

            Apparently Incanto's not doing the Quinto Quarto thing any more, it's still on the Web site but I called to reserve one and they said no more. On the other hand, they have had chalkboard offal specials as well as a few dishes on the menu every time I've been in since the remodel, and the Head to Tail dinner's coming up at the end of the month.


            Little or no offal on SPQR's menu under the new chef.

            1. CarrieWas218 Mar 7, 2012 10:23 PM

              Sam's Grill on Belden Place always has three different versions of sweetbreads on their menu. They are HUGE and amazing...

              3 Replies
              1. re: CarrieWas218
                Robert Lauriston Mar 8, 2012 12:33 PM

                I had the sweetbreads at Sam's a few years ago, good but overcooked for my taste. I prefer the Rex sole a la Sam.

                I miss Jeanty at Jack's.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  CarrieWas218 Mar 8, 2012 01:18 PM

                  Even you, Robert, know how quickly things change in this city - "a few years ago" may as well make it an entirely different restaurant considering how quickly restaurants change chefs and styles.

                  I had them in the past six months and they were splendid.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                    Robert Lauriston Mar 8, 2012 02:35 PM

                    The food improved after Phil Lyons bought it in 2005, but I was at Sam's just last year and it seemed like nothing had changed since my previous visit in 2009, when I had the sweetbreads.

              2. r
                rubadubgdub Mar 7, 2012 11:20 PM

                Subscribe to Chris's twitter feed and you'll get the first look at the odds and ends board as well as any new dishes, often offal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rubadubgdub
                  Robert Lauriston Mar 8, 2012 08:36 AM

                  I don't really want to know since I can rarely go to Incanto on impulse.

                2. Robert Lauriston Dec 10, 2012 06:39 PM

                  Any new offal sightings since March?

                  1. Robert Lauriston Jan 22, 2014 01:07 PM

                    Any new places in the past year?

                    Locanda dropped their quinto quarto section.

                    Maykadeh's a good one that hasn't been mentioned here.

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