Auros (auros) wrote,

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foodpr0n: Incanto

My friend mickle had a gift certificate for more than she could actually spend with just her and her boy, and she kindly offered to take us along for the ride, as it were. (We chipped in for tip, and I totally owe her a dinner down here at some point.)

First course:

Salad of Chicory Variegata di Chioggia, with pecorino and cabernet vinaigrette -- So pretty! And the bitter and sour and savory flavors were, IMHO, all in perfect balance. Xta was not so keen on it, as she's not a big fan of bitter salad greens (salad reds?).

Sprouting broccoli (basically brocollini) with soft-boiled egg, Meyer lemon, and bottarga -- Delicious when you got a little of everything all together. The bottarga (cured fish roe), adds a flavor a little like worcestershire, but more intensely pungent.

Beef heart tartare, with a little olive oil and various herbs, and some nicely charred garlic toast.

Second course:

Boccalone Ibérico di bellota lardo, over Shinku pear, with pineapple mint dressing -- this was one of the best things on the table. Very simple: crisp, sweet pears, with the savory/salty lardo, and notes of bright acidity from the dressing. And mint, apparently, goes beautifully with pear; I don't know that I'd had that combination, before. Lardo, for those who don't know, is basically just very thin strips of cured pork fat. If it's decent quality, it has no lean or connective tissue in it, and starts melting the moment it hits your tongue. (This dish has inspired me to try using some of the Royal Rivieras I have on the counter in savory applications; last night we cut one up and tossed it with ravioli, a little olive oil, cheese, mint from our garden, basil, and salt and pepper. Yum.)

Foie gras and trotters, with citrus and lemon balm. This was pretty amazing; it was served over a croute of some kind. The "citrus and lemon balm" meant supremes of a few different kinds (I think there was either orange or tangerine, and pink grapefruit), and some candied bits (which I think were kumquats, but mickle thought might be calamansi).

Pipe rigate with duck sugo and crushed Castelvetrano olives. This was nice (the sugo had just the right texture), but compared to a lot of the other stuff on the table, it seemed sort of bland. Could've stood the addition of, say, some roasted red peppers, and/or a more notable blend of herbs/spices.

Third course:

Handkerchief pasta with rustic pork ragú -- a more-or-less perfect version of an Italian classic. Highly recommended.

Lamb, Brussels sprouts, dates, pine nuts, and anchovy paste. The lamb was both a medallion, and a sausage (I think merguez). All very good. The sides really made the dish -- you had to get a little of everything.

Side dish of roasted baby turnips with pickled mustard seeds -- the turnips included some very pretty ones that had the same coloration as watermelon radishes (green on the outside, then white, then red in the middle). Very tasty with the little flavor-bomb mustard seeds. (You'd bite one, and it would go *pop* . . . MUSTARD!)


"Quince in the Hole" (half a quince fruit, poached in syrup, with a piece of toast with a hole in it set across it as a frame, like toad in the hole), with shaved Pecorino Calabrese Riserva (a very well-aged pecorino) and almond paste -- I think this was probably the best of the desserts. Quince is an under-appreciated fruit, and the savory cheese and the almond paste went well with it.

Lamb mincemeat turnovers, rum caramel, and vanilla icecream. The mincemeat was deliciously spiced, and the caramel gave the right amount of sweetness. Yum.

Mocha mousse with coffee caramel. Good, but not as exciting as the other two. (This is the sort of place where the "lesser" dishes Could be the best thing on the menu at some other restaurant.)

Dessert wine "mystery flight" -- small pours of Brachetto Birbét 2009 Cascina Ca' Rossa, Vin Santo 2005 Badia di Morrona, and Montefalco Sagrantino Passito 2004 Scacciadiavoli. None of these were overly sweet. In order, the Brachetto was intensely fruity (a bit like Quady Red Electra); the Vin Santo reminded me of a good Tokaji; and the Montefalco was a bit like a ruby port crossed with a particular rich non-dessert red. The mystery flight is brought to the table with little paper rings around the base of each glass that you can turn over to find out what the wine is. Kinda entertaining.

And tonight we're planning to try to make Kadu, the Afghan butternut squash / pumpkin dish.

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