Incanto 2.0 [San Francisco]
Incanto is reopening after a remodel and menu update. Not sure how extensive the changes will be since they were only closed for one week, but it looks like they gutted all of the tables and decor. The new menu will be a mix of new dishes and old "favorites". I plan on going in the next week or so to check it out. Figured I would start a thread now to get the word out and to see if anyone has more info on what's new. The website isn't updated yet so details are hard to come by.
Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131
Went last night with the intent of eating a lot of offal. Ordered mostly off the chalk board.
The "letter to myself" ($18) from the Top Chef Masters finale: blood sausage, oysters poached in pork broth, fried duck egg, like the best Irish breakfast ever.
Capunti di grano arzo ($11 for the small portion) are a Pugliese pasta made with burnt flour, couldn't really taste that but in combination with Cosentino's cotechino (a meatier sausage than the traditional skin and fat one), clams, and chard it was really good.
Warm smoked herring roe and salt cod crostini with Meyer lemon ($12), very nice, three big crostini.
The smaller of two pig's head dishes on the menu was a very light broth with chunks of various parts of head, a few chunks of potato, capers, and parsley ($16), every bite was different. The larger dish was a roasted half head ($50) that looked like a lot of fun but way too much for two, at least if you wanted to eat anything else.
Salad of winter citrus, fennel, olives, chiles, and bottarga ($15)
Smothered calf's kidney with mushrooms and cream ($23) was very French in style, served on a piece of brioche toast. It was great but we were seriously full, could only eat half.
Had a little maple semifreddo with huckleberries for dessert. Delicious and light, or at least small. It's rare to get a real semifreddo, I love that texture.
They just reorganized the menu a bit, adding a new section of dishes for two. Mark Miller was there, guess it was my night for local food celebrity sightings.
Went to the Head to Tail last night.
Venison pluck was really good, some of the best kidney I've had, nice spice level.
"Peasant pappa" was focaccia pap, sort of like polenta or cream of wheat, with a sort of creamy blood pudding and poached egg, delicious.
Oxtail and beef lip terrina was basically a variation on head cheese, served with a nice salad.
A light fish soup included cod "tongues" from Spain, milt, and I'm not sure what all else. Delicious and very unusual, exciting variety of textures.
Lamb mincemeat pie was great. I could not taste the hay in the lavender-hay ice cream but it was good too.
I think the progression of the menu from heavier to lighter was smart, that way people with smaller appetites were able to enjoy dessert.
They said there were still a few seats available for Wednesday's dinner.
re: Robert Lauriston
I was also there.
Venison pluck I thought was good, but not great. The onion ash was described as sweet, but just tasted bitter.
Peasant pappa with salt cured pork liver and blood mousse was my favorite dish of the night. The slow cooked egg tied it all together. I heard it took months of trial and error to get the blood mousse perfect for service.
Oxtail and beef lip terrina was nice, but it needed more salt or acid for me.
The cod tripe and tongue had nice textures but I didn't finish it.
The dessert, I liked ice cream mostly, but enjoyed a few bites of everything together.
Our table thought the progression should have been terrina, fish soup, venison pluck, then peasant pappa.
The onion ash seemed weird at first but a little dab on the meat gave it a smokiness. One of my companions recognized the dish as a variation on something some other chef does.
I ate the terrina and salad together, that gave it some acid.
I'd have served terrina, fish soup, pappa, pluck, which would be a more conventional Italian course order, but I understand their reasoning in going from heavier to lighter instead.
Went last night, the space is feels more modern with the art on the walls, the removal of the drapes and added a communal table. The food and service was excellent as usual and no major changes in the menu. Highlight was the lamb neck with a delicious polenta that had a special fragrance - I couldn't identify.
Yes, that lamb neck is amazing. I'm not so sure about the giant photos of hogs, or the lack of sound proofing.
I had the head and shoulders (literally a duck's head and neck--tasty, but don't tell my nutritionist), smoked snails and chanterelles appetizers (similarly delicious but now I need to go run 5 miles), and the Meyer lemon risotto (very mild flavor if perfectly prepared and a generous portion). The chilli and bones pile that went by looked great, or at least very macho.
The staff seemed to be having fun with a few new offerings and a blackboard to play with.
The website indicates the following: "...the new photos hide heavy-duty acoustic panels to further dampen the noise of a busy dining room. We've also hidden a few more panels around the dining room to help take the din out of dinner. If you're curious, ask us and we'll be happy to point them out. They're pretty well hidden."
We'll be there tomorrow night. I'll try to make note of the noise level, and report back on the food.
Great, sounds like more of a refresh than a remodel. Here are the highlights:
New floor, photos & acoustic panels replace the drapes, refinished tables, two new 8-10 top tables, new banquette.
Ham in Hay shared entree, small & entree size options for pastas, antipasto now in 3 sizes, "odds & ends" chalkboard menu with limited items, a "featured bottle" list of wines that will delve into a region or theme every 4-6 weeks, artisan beermaking.