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Despite the fact that the day began as just about every Saturday does for us, at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, we gave the cook the night off.

Instead, we went with a few friends to one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Incanto is great Italian food in Noe Valley. It’s the kind of place I love: people who are completely into the food — they make their own salumi in house — but in a pretense-free atmosphere. Like it says on the menu, free bottle of Hetch Hetchy on every table. (That’s tap water.)

But this is not a review. For that, look here, here or here.
Razor clam
Instead, you just get a glimpse. Manila and razor clams in brodo with chorizo.
A beautifully composed dish, executed flawlessly. And, it’s as the title above says (cribbed from chef Chris Cosentino), the place isn’t trying to do Italian food just as you’d find it in a particular region of Italy. That’s a fool’s game here — you just can’t ever get it just right. Instead, take the spirit of great Italian food — the most perfect ingredients, balanced just so and use what’s here, what’s great and what’s available now. It will not be what they’re serving tonight in Sicily or Orvieto or Bologna. But at Incanto, it will be good.

And with it we drank a Sudtirol Eisacktaler Kerner DOC 2003. From way northern Italy, almost in Austria. It’s a relatively new grape. And no, I hadn’t heard of it before last night either. As a UK wine dealer says, “Nose is intense and aromatic.” Umm, yeah. Intense is the word. If you can find some, try it.

Where’d you go Saturday night?


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