During a recent dinner at Incognito Bistro, I learned that there is a large population of Italians living in Scotland — this was news to me. I had the privilege of trying a number of dishes from chef and co-owner Paolo Montana. The restaurant offers a number of Roman dishes along side an array of traditional, upscale, Scottish cuisine. This is probably the only restaurant in New York City where you can enjoy traditional risotto and haggis. Both of which are superb.
The restaurant itself is quite large, and not just in seating (60 seats in the main area, 50 more in the bar/lounge and another 40 in a second private dining room). The ceilings are high and you are not crammed next to your neighbor like in most Manhattan restaurants. The walls have traditional black and white Italian pictures along side abstract paintings by acclaimed Scottish artist Patricia Moretti. The entire restaurant itself is a nice respite from smaller, more cramped, places.
Now…the food. And there was lots of it. To wet our whistle, we had a prociutto and rucola pizza. The tomatoes were roasted and the mozzarella was fresh and delicate. A great start.
Next was a baby shrimp timble — which essentially was a salad meets ceviche. It was accented with fresh asparagus, avocado, tomatoes and cilantro. A vibrant dish with lots of flavor.
To follow was a small cup of Tuscan bean and swiss chard soup. While I do not usually order soup, it was nice to try this fresh soup. The type of soup offered changes regularly, but this is definitely one that would be great once the weather turns a little colder.
Ok. So now that we have had a nice fill of Italian food, it was time to break out the Scottish dishes. The first one we tried was haggis with creamed potatoes and whisky jus. Now I have had haggis in Scottland, but it was fried and really didn’t taste like much. This however, was creamy, delicious, and decedent. I winning dish.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Italian cuisine…Risotto with wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella and carbonara with pancetta and black pepper. Of the two, I preferred the pasta. Give me pasta with pork, any pork, and I’m a happy guy.
Ok, now back to Scottish. Isle of Skye Scallop with fennel beurre blanc and a parmesan crust. These scallops come from Scotland, something I really wasn’t aware they were known for. The scallop had a wonderful crust and the sauce was fantastic.
The final savory course was the one I was waiting for — baby lamb with dijon mustard and bread crumbs, Brussels sprouts and potato. I love lamb and I loved this lamb. My only critique was maybe just a touch less mustard. Everything else, sides and all, was perfect.
Finally, came a massive dessert tray. Of all their offerings, all homemade, I enjoyed the chocolate torte the most. But their strawberry ice cream, which I rarely see on menus, was also off the charts.
Incognito Bistro offers a great variety of dishes from the boot (well technically Rome) of Italy and Scotland. Not many places, if any, can boast that combination. Despite sounding odd, the food is paired nicely. The wine offerings are also expansive as is the Scotch collection. With dozens to chose from, there is something for everyone at the Incognito Bistro. Hopefully now it’s not so incognito…