Hot Meal: Cucina Povera at Incanto
Being a fan of Chris Cosentino's regular menu at Incanto, we were unable to resist the first dinner of his special summer-long Cucina Povera prix-fixe dinner series, a tribute to the poverty-inspired dishes of Italy's various regions, offered Sunday and Monday nights -- especially when we noted the bargain price, $30 for three courses, and only $9 more for a paired two-wine flight. The first meal, from Lazio in central Italy (bordered by famous culinary neighbors Tuscany and Umbria), seemed homey and inviting: spaghetti cacio e pepe, lamb stew, jam tart.
After a lovely plate of the simple-but-difficult-to-perfect spaghetti cacio e pepe (with lots of grated pecorino Romano and LOTS of fresh ground pepper!) we dove into the tender succulent braised lamb, with a soft-cooked egg alongside whose runny yolk enriched the lamb's cooking juices, sided with sweet baby carrots. Amazing!
One nice touch we've only seen at Incanto and wish other places would copy: special printed labels (pictured above) that encircle the base of your wine glass. They provide you with a souvenir that makes it easy to order the wine again. In this case it was a fresh, light Frascati Superiore Regillo (a white) and a fruity Zilath Rosso blend, neither of which we'd ever tasted.