It's not just offal that's good at Incanto, but it's certainly what chef Chris Cosentino is known for, having showcased a variety of organ meats on his way to winning the most recent cycle of Top Chef Masters. That said, it's clear he's still pushing himself and the boundaries to create inventive and harmonious flavor combinations. When we decided to forego our 7:45 reservations last week so that we could fill our empty bellies an hour and a half earlier (Incanto was fully booked for the evening), we got to sit at the bar—and enjoy hearing Cosentino himself regaling a few VIP diners perched beside us with the intricate details behind the new dishes dotting the Fall menu.
Here are (most of) the treats that came our way:
An Incanto special: the most unctuous lamb liver pate set off nicely by a generous embellishment of piquant pepperoncini and shreddings of minty, sweet basil.
Another special: Creamy sea urchin carrying the barest hint of the ocean, partnered with thin shavings of melt-like-buttah lardo, a tiny helping of tangy pesto and crunchy, sharp radish. All of it piled atop a toasted and slightly bitter piece of brown bread. I savored every bite.
Spaghettini tossed with Sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk, chili flakes (this dish had a nice kick to it) and a big handful of fresh, grassy parsley. We got a half order, which was plenty—partly because the tuna heart curled our tongues, it was so salty. But we didn't mind. It was right for the amount we had. And we paired it with another primi: the handkerchief pasta and rustic pork ragu topped with a big ol' duck egg (not pictured, but ever so delightful).
Rounding out the meal was the bollito misto, which made its debut that very night. The broth had been enriched with bone marrow, flavored with star anise and strained through hay. Pork belly, bone marrow, lamb tongue, lamb thigh and shoulder, along with some lovely veg filled the enticing bowl. We were told to throw in the cilantro and other garnishes before digging in, but to save the pickled and fresh radish as a palate cleanser post-meal. We were more than happy to oblige.
A truly inspired dish, and overall a wonderful experience at Incanto.