Tag Archives: unusual meat dishes

Incanto’s Snout to Tail Dinner

Snout to Tail Dinner: Incanto, SF

The prospect of eating a meal comprised of many unusual animal parts was exciting. I’m a big fan of Chris Cosentino. who enjoys toying with and serving innards and other ghastlies and crumbs, officially called offal in the culinary world. Chris was born into  a winemaking  family and was probably custom built to grow into his current status as one of America’s most interesting chefs. He’s not as famous as, say, Boulud or Andres or others, but he’ll probably get his TV show one day and then all hell-fame-and-flame will break loose for him.

Again, the concept alone of eating the oddities thrilled and, while the dinner was even more challenging than I expected, it was still a fun and wonderful ride. Not all the dishes were great, but the entire meal was a great experience (hence the great grade). But, to be sure, it’s not the multi-course meal to suit everyone; not even those who are flesh fanatics.

But hey, how many times do you get to have beef tendon and berries? Or sheep’s bladder bruschetta? So if you think you’re adventurous, I highly encourage you to visit Incanto for the annual Snout-to-Tail dinner. You’ll have a party-starter conversation for the rest of your life.

Course 1: PIG EAR TERRINE

Beautiful presentation; just gorgeous. Pig ear, being really chewy (cartilage), can be a challenge.

Pig Ear Terrine - Snout to Tail Dinner, Incanto SF
Pig Ear Terrine: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF

Course 2: CHORIZO & DUCK EGG

I enjoy a good spicy chorizo, in combination with just about anything you hit with it. The presentation of this was a bit messy, perhaps because duck eggs are big and unruly. This was pretty good, but excessively portioned and not as well balanced as some of the other courses.

 

Chorizo and Duck Egg: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF
Chorizo and Duck Egg: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF

Course 3: TONGUE PASTRAMI (and rye seed) SALAD

I love pastrami, too. This was a super-clever reinterpretation of pastrami on rye, with the tongue pastrami (excellent) and sprouted rye seeds on a light salad. This was a terrific course, perhaps my favorite of the evening.

Tongue Pastrami & Rye Seed Salad: Snout-to-Tail Dinner
Tongue Pastrami & Rye Seed Salad: Snout-to-Tail Dinner

Course 4: SHEEP’S SPLEEN BRUSCHETTA

Now when you go to the grocery store, I’ll bet you a zillion dollars you have never gone up to your butcher and said, “Hey I’m really in the mood for sheep spleen. Do you have some fresh spleen today?” Incanto is an Italian restaurant and Chris Cosentino’s quirky bruschetta had its high points but, for me, the earthy chewiness of the meat involved made the portions again too large. We ate about half and that was plenty. Gold star for originality, though.

Sheep Spleen Bruschetta: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF
Sheep Spleen Bruschetta: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF

Course 5: GOAT POT PIE

Again, a terrific idea from Chris here, to invert the chicken pot pie All-American concept with goat meat. I’m not a huge fan of desconstructed dishes, especially when the deconstruction takes away the best part of the dish. In the case of a pot pie, a crusty pie is paramount, even beyond what’s put inside. So the flaky top was good, but I needed more. The onions, potatoes, carrots, peas, also good.

Now I actually am one of the few people I know who’ll seek out goat meat. Having chivito (baby goat) in Argentina opened my eyes to how awesome goat can be. Unfortunately, the goat procured for this meal had a bit of dirty funky taste that some goat meat can have. I’m not sure what causes it; one day I’ll find out. I think Chris will fare better in the next batch but again, this was an excellent reinterpretation of a classic, and given a beautiful presentation.

Goat Pot Pie: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF
Goat Pot Pie: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF

Course 6: DESSERT – BEEF TENDON & BERRIES

My girlfriend couldn’t deal with this. One could say it’s like chewing on a torn prophylactic (and someone did), but I thought it was a pretty good dessert. And fun. You know, considering we were eating beef tendon. It did have a similarly bland, chewy textture that the pig ear did, but not as intense. The beef tendon was a nice textural balance to the berries and cream.

This certainly won’t win over the breakfast at Wimbledon crowd but, who knows….stranger things happen.

Beef Tendon & Berries: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF
Beef Tendon & Berries: Snout-to-Tail Dinner, Incanto SF

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Roasted Lamb Neck (Incanto, SF)

Roasted Lamb Neck

The Dish: Roasted Lamb Neck

(Incanto, SF) Roasted lamb neck with spring veggies and horseradish aioli.

What a fun dish to eat…the waiter came over and instructed the fork flaying technique that pulls the soft meat apart from the bone. It’s a very tasty treat, among the unusual suspects that Chef Chris Cosentino will dole out when the mood and the seasonal availability strikes him. One of the great things about Incanto in SF is that you’ll get great Italian classics and, if you’re feeling adventurous, will always have an odd option on the menu to challenge you as well.

Step 1: Admire this unusual dish from Incanto. Savor the aroma. Be the hunter. Ready the fork. 

Roasted Lamb Neck, Incanto restaurant, SF CA
Roasted Lamb Neck, Incanto restaurant, SF CA

Step 2: Flay the fork points and dig into the meat. Mix with spring veggies for perfect bites.

Roasted Lamb Neck, step 2: Flay open with fork spears
Roasted Lamb Neck, step 2: Flay open with fork spears

Step 3: Continue De-Forkation 

Roasted Lamb Neck: deforkation of the meat
Roasted Lamb Neck: deforkation of the meat

Step 3: Admire the Carcass / Remains

 

Ah, Neck Bone. Roasted Lamb Neck Bone!
Ah, Neck Bone. Roasted Lamb Neck Bone!

The Grade: Excellent

The Skinny: Incanto

1550 Church Street, San Francisco CA 

Phone: (415) 641-4500

Website: http://www.incanto.biz/

Hours: 5_30 – 10pm, Wednesday through Saturday; 5_30 = 9:30pm Sunday and Monday evenings. 10 am – 2pm Sunday brunch. Closed Tuesdays.

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