Tuesday, May 15, 2012

San Francisco: Incanto

Bourdain ate here in his San Fran episode. I promised myself we'd do one "nice" aka over priced, stiff restaurant per city on our trip. So with being a Tony fan and loving all things Italian in mind, we dined at Incanto in the very suburban neighbourhood of Noe Valley.

I was excited about this place probably because I had booked it like 1 month in advance so the experience had been building up. The verdict post dinner? Don't believe all the hype and everything you see on TV.

I now realise that Tony tends to be polite to all his hosts and censors perhaps what he'd really like to say or what he really thinks. Ok admittedly his hosts must put on the spread of a lifetime too, so that would up the ante considerably compared to my measly every day dining experience at the same establishments. *fist shaking in air* David Chang better deliver the goods in Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York! That's all I have to say.

Back to Incanto. Definitely above average. Hilarious waiter that knew his stuff and looked after us superbly, he even shouted us dessert wine and made half the food choices for us (I fear what the experience would have been like if he hadn't recommended some of the signature dishes).

We both did the mystery wine flight (all Italian as that is the specialty of the wine bar) which was very reasonably priced at $15pp for 3x half glasses. They were all superb choices as they tasted great and accompanied the food really well, a fact (the food ordered) the sommelier takes into consideration.

We had the complimentary bread plate with olive tapenade, two appetisers, two mains, shared dessert plus coffee with complimentary biscotti. Apart from the mystery wine flight and glass of dessert wine, I also snuck in another glass of red. The experience cost us about $160USD.

The food ordered was:
- chicken liver pâté with tomatoes and mustard, house made thyme brioche lightly toasted (this dish was the highlight of the evening)
- blood sausage with egg sunny side up and clams (disappointing, but I have authentic Argentinian and Uruguayan blood sausage as my bench mark)
- spaghettini with shaved tuna heart and egg yolk (most anticipated yet most disappointing dish of the night)
- lamb neck with greens and creamy polenta (extra soft and succulent meat that fell off the bone)
- bittersweet chocolate tart with basil sorbetto (refreshing and delicious)

What I do like about this place, apart from the whole experience, superb service, delicious wines and select delectable dishes, is its concept. Incanto is a nose to tail dining experience, the whole idea of not wasting any bit of the animal, but instead utilising and eating every part of it. Also, they produce their own sparkling water in house and serve it in recyclable and reusable glass bottles. Gotta love an environmentally conscious bunch!

So all in all it wasn't bad, it was actually great apart from the two out of five dishes ordered, but when I look at it as percentages it works out to 60/40 good/bad which is borderline, so its the tree hugging, ambiance, service and fantastic all Italian wine list that make it really great for me.

Incanto on Urbanspoon

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