30 W 18th St
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 414-1231
Fax: (212) 414-1233
Mon- Fri 11.30am - 10.30pm
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Chef: Paolo Montana
2nd Cuisine: Scottish
Area: Flatiron District
Entree Price: $20-$30
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard Discover
A casual, elegant Italian bistro in the Flatiron/Chelsea area. Open all day offering delicious modern dining. Great for everyday and special occasions.
As its name suggests, Incognito can be considered one of New York City’s hidden gems. True, it’s in hiding in plain sight, provided you ever walk down this particular stretch of West 18th Street. But this surprisingly spacious spot proves to be a winning option, especially if you have large parties with diverse tastes in food.
Why? Chef-owner Paolo Montana and his charming wife, Adriana Moretti, have drawn on their combined Italian and Scottish heritages to create a menu that truly has something for everyone, from those diners with conventional tastes to more adventurous eaters.
For example, you can start the meal with something as simple as the creamy and delicious buffalo mozzarella with tomato and basil to perfectly grilled calamari to a more sophisticated appetizer such as melt-in-your mouth terrine of duck livers topped with a pistachio crust.
For a larger group, I’d highly recommend whetting the appetite by sharing one of the excellent pizzas, particularly the inventive pie topped with a remarkably tantalizing combination of manchego cheese, rucola, and delightfully rare roast beef. (Of course, you can have this for dinner as well!)
When it’s time to select a main course, don’t be scared by the choices on the “Scottish Corner” of the menu. For example, all the horrible things you may have heard about haggis will disappear with one bite of the “Highland haggis,” which turns out to be almost a variation on Shepherd’s pie. Served like a terrine, a layer of creamed potatoes is topped first by a pleasing turnip puree and then a non-gamy layer of lamb sausage, all napped in a delicious whisky jus. And fans of “the other white meat” will be more than happy with a nicely done slice of Aryshire pork accompanied by roasted potato, apple julienne, a slab of black pudding (much better than it sounds), all made more delectable by a dollop of grainy mustard.
If you prefer more continental fare, there’s a wide selection of pastas – I’d certainly check on the risotto of the day – along with such stalwarts as steak frites, shrimp scampi, whole baby chicken, breast of chicken, among many more winning-sounding entrees.
The menu’s delicious dichotomy even extends to desserts, where you can’t go wrong ordering either the decadent dark chocolate torte or the lighter but decidedly yummy Cranachan, an updated Scottish favorite that brilliantly combines meringue, mascarpone cream, toasted oats, and a wild berry compote. Or just order both and split them among the table, if you dare.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton