I had high expectations for Incanto. They had me at brains and peas:

Peas and brains

fried brains and peas

This was the best dish of our trip to San Francisco and probably one of my all-time favorite restaurant dishes. I’m surprised I got a picture before I inhaled them. It was an end-of-Ratatouille moment for me. Everything about it reminded me of the fried brains my mom used to make when I was a kid, before stupid¬† mad-cow made it very difficult to come by. There is something about the crispy saltiness of the batter combined with the creaminess of the brains that drives me wild. And the flavor combination…. I want it in my mouth at all times. I would chew brains and peas gum. I would gargle with brains and peas Scope. Like a baby bird, I would peck this out of someone else’s mouth should they not chew fast enough.¬† I loved it.

strawberries, fava beans, arugula and pecorino

strawberries, fava beans, arugula and pecorino

The flavor combinations at Incanto were unique and in almost all cases worked well. The above dish was as refreshing as it sounds. Indeed, all the dishes I sampled varied from good to excellent with the highlights being the beef heart and the spaghettini. Clearly Incanto was at its best when dealing with the peculiar cuts (brains, beef and tuna heart, sweetbreads). I was also pleased to see the addition of Nduja to the lingcod dish. Nduja is a spreadable salami from Calabria (my mom’s hometown) that is starting to become more popular in the states. I urge you to go buy it, then travel to Calabria and spend lots of money in its cities and towns.

I regret that I won’t be able to go back to Incanto for quite some time. I imagine that the menu changes frequently and there are already new and interesting piggy parts on the menu that I am missing out on. I also regret that I wasn’t able to scrounge up a group of 12 – the minimum to order a suckling pig. So many missed opportunities. In the end I think the quality of my life will be determined by the quantity of suckling pig that I eat in the company of friends.

grilled beef heart with warm marinated mushroom

grilled beef heart with warm marinated mushroom

spaghettini, sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk, parsley

spaghettini, sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk, parsley

trofie with ramp pesto, morels, and potatoes

trofie with ramp pesto, morels, and potatoes

local lingcod, nduja, clams, and chickpeas

local lingcod, nduja, clams, and chickpeas

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