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Bar Bites: Incanto

IncantodiningroomWhat better before a late flight out than a quick bite at the bar of a favorite restaurant? In point of fact, though we adore Incanto under any circumstances, we often tend to prefer dining at the bar over the dining room. We’re clearly not alone — the bar filled up though there were yet tables to be had.

Two reasons we like sitting at the bar: First, it is comfortable and casual. Second, the wine steward is at your beck and call. Incanto’s menu is ever-changing; they actually print a new one every day. The ingredients are seasonal, the preparations classically Italian. What’s not to love?

We started with the cured meat platter. Chef Chris Cosentino’s mortadella is perennially fantastic, light, fluffy yet robust. I was surprisingly pleased by the head cheese, not normally my favorite thing, but the seasoning and spicing were spot on. Delicious pickled carrots and watermelon radishes made for excellent acidic counterpoints.

I had the mezze rigatoni with cardoons and pangrattata; I love cardoons and get them so seldom. Overall delicious, the pasta exactly al dente, it was slightly oversalted, but I can forgive that. DPaul had the nettle pappardelle with beet greens and maitake mushrooms. Ironically he complained of it needing salt, but I thought it tasted wonderfully delicate and fresh.

Wine director Edward Ruiz steered us toward a half-carafe of the Roera Arneis, which had a smoky, earthy complexion that played extremely well both with the mushrooms and the cardoons. For dessert, a meyer lemon budino with pistachio hit the spot.

Hey, it beats eating in the airport, right? And we were out in plenty of time to catch our flight. Ottimo!

1550 Church St (at Duncan)

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