Tag Archives: Chris Cosentino restaurant

Incanto Always Surprises

Strawberries with -- what else -- lardo. At Incanto.

Strawberries with — what else — lardo. At Incanto.


I always think of Chris Cosentino of San Francisco’s Incanto as one brave chef.

After all, it’s the easiest thing in the world to attract diners with perfect grilled salmon or a great roast chicken.

But enticing them with organ meats — especially long before they became trendy ingredients — is one tough challenge.

Fortunately, Cosentino doesn’t buckle easily.

Thanks to his persistence and his delicious way with offal, so many more diners have learned to appreciate the odds, ends and bits that they once shunned.

Recently, my husband and I had a chance to dine at this popular Noe Valley restaurant. Although we paid our tab, Cosentino sent out a few dishes gratis that he wanted us to try.

The always bustling dining room.

The always bustling dining room.

All around us, we watched as Flintstone-sized pork chops, sheep’s heads and whole pig’s trotters were paraded out to diners. Incanto gets in whole animals and uses every part imaginatively. In fact, it’s well-known for its “Leg of Beast” dinners that revolve around a whole beef shank and plenty of marrow bones, as well as its “Whole Pig Dining” that centers on a roasted pig and plenty of fixings. The evening we were there, a group of about a dozen men were seated in the private dining room, going to town on a whole pig.

As celebrated as it is, Incanto very much remains a neighborhood restaurant. As such, prices are moderate. Pastas come in two sizes, ranging in price from $10 to $18 each. Starters run $4 to $18. Larger plates for two can run $30 or more.

A chalkboard by the bar lists that evening’s “Odds and Ends” or specials.

Egg in gelatin...

Egg in gelatin…

With its still runny egg yolk.

With its still runny egg yolk.

From that list, we couldn’t resist an old-school egg preparation, in which a whole, poached egg is encased in gelatin of broth made with 2-year-old-aged Iberico. Summer truffles are shaved over it all. Cut into the egg and it’s miraculously still oozy. It’s a beauty of a dish.

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