Incognito in Chelsea

| September 13, 2012

Originally from Scotland, Chef Paolo Montana has not only mastered the art of Northern Italian cooking, with the opening of Incognito Restaurant he has finally made his ultimate statement, crowning a long line of successes .

The inviting ambiance that washes across you in waves of warmth, captures the glamour and ease of a time gone by. An open and elegant floor plan greets you as you can’t help but wander in to this appealing establishment.  Accented by black and white photography and punctuated with a colorful splash of original contemporary art, this is a place that is sure to become one of my regular stops  when in this part of town.

We started off the evening at the bar with a trio of Crostini including goat cheese and roasted  tomato, fava mash and manchego, and prosciutto and mozzarella. Just like the ambiance, simple elegance dominated—delicious without being overworked. This would be a theme that would continue to develop throughout the evening.

The in-house mixologist was a true master of libations and the delivery of a perfectly executed Gin Gimlet (made with Plymouth gin, a must try for gin lovers) and a Moroccan Lemonade (gin, mint, simple syrup and lemon juice) was just what was needed after a trying New York City afternoon. But that is exactly what Incognito has to offer—a resting spot for the weary executive, or better yet, a place to call home for locals.

The menu at Incognito is dotted with Northern Italian delights with of course, Chef Montana’s original twist. Committed to fresh, quality cuisine, you’ll have the comfort of finding dishes you know well, to specialty items for those wanting to be adventurous. On the simpler side, the Prosciutto & Fig Pizza (roasted tomato and mozzarella) and homemade meatballs were extraordinary.  But, take a hard left and enjoy the Beef Carpaccio with truffle essence or the Mussels with garlic, fennel and white wine. Like everything else, there is a classic elegance here—a casual sophistication. This extends throughout the menu with extraordinary versions of favorites like the Melenzane Parmigiana and Steak Frites (entrecote steak with béarnaise sauce) to delights like the Royal Sea Bream Fillet (with white wine and tarragon) and the Veal with Tagliatelle (scallopine with mushrooms tomato and white wine).

One of my favorite new restaurants in New York, Chef Montana accomplishes something very difficult—an extraordinarily reasonably priced menu, that does not sacrifice quality in the least. One thing is for certain, this is a chef who knows who he is. His new hotspot is appropriate for everything from a casual business lunch, to a grand meal celebrating your most important occasion.

Leave your pretentions at the door; this is one down-to earth and friendly environment and the sense of family is alive and well—you will always feel welcome at Incognito.