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

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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  1. 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

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

    2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

                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

                  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

                    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. 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

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

                2. Any new offal sightings since March?

                  1. Any new places in the past year?

                    Locanda dropped their quinto quarto section.

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

                    1. Schroeder's 2.0 has tongue and blutwurst on the menu.

                      Are any of the other new places opened in the last few months serving offal regularly?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Box & Bells has beef tongue pastrami toast, sweetbread sausage and blood pudding poutine.

                        1. re: JonDough

                          Yeah, in the East Bay they're one of the best places for offal. Also Ippuku, Kiraku, and Spices!3. Comal and Corso always have tripe. Duck liver crostini at Sidebar. Carnitas mixtas at Jalisco.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I think most "authentic" (which I define as catering mostly to members of that ethnic group) Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants have dishes with offal. "Lengua" is quite common, as is "tripas" (both beef and pork intestines, plus "buche" (pig's stomach)). La Gran Chiquita has blood sausage (Morcilla), and all kinds of other body parts. Tripe is a common ingredient in pho, as is coagulated blood. And does tendon count? China Village has dishes with tripe, pork intestines, kidneys, etc., as do many other non-Americanized Chinese restaurants. And lots of French (or French inspired) places serve sweetbreads.

                            If you count various kinds of prepared liver (pate, mousse, chopped, etc.), there are innumerable restaurants.

                            I think it's kind of a myth that it's hard to find dishes with offal. Yeah, you won't find them in Dennys, but otherwise ....

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              It's hard to find places that buy the kind of meat I buy myself that feature offal more challenging than sweetbreads, marrow, crackling, and occasionally tripe. Places that have tried it keep giving up on it, e.g. SPQR, Bocadillos, and Locanda.

                              The taqueria I knew that had the biggest selection of offal, El Cachanilla, went out of business. Ditto its Korean counterpart, To Hyang. In many Asian dishes I find the offal overcooked or lost among many other flavors so relatively interesting.

                        1. Six of Chris Cosentino's favorite offal dishes from Spices, the El Toyanense trucks, Bar Tartine, Yank Sing, Perbacco, and Yummy Yummy: