Before the storm hit NYC this past week, I roamed around the city with my two photographer friends, Janice and Jonathan, to search for a new lens for my beloved camera. With the help of these two, I bought my new lens and we were set on an adventure to find the perfect restaurant for dinner. Not searching too far from where we were on 18th street, we quickly looked up the top restaurants in the nearby neighborhood to find an Italian restaurant called Incognito Bistro. We walked in having absolutely no idea what this restaurant would offer us aside from basic Italian food, and all three of us were impressed with the modern chic interior that the restaurant displayed.
Upon entering, we were informed of the restaurant’s happy hour: from 4-7PM, a 2 course meal from the happy hour menu costs only $15 with a separate happy hour bar menu as well. Each of us ordered from the happy hour menu, starting with our appetizers. I ordered the calamari fritti with tartare sauce, Janice ordered the vegetable plate consisting of eggplant caponata, roasted fennel, sweet corn, and butternut squash, and Jonathan ordered the meatballs with rich marinara and garlic bread. The waiting time for our appetizers was short and our table was soon filled with well-prepared plates of Italian food. To begin with the calamari fritti, I have not a single bad thing to say about this dish. The calamari was well fried and not greasy at all, accompanied by a light but flavorful tartare sauce infused with lemon. Janice was a bit disappointed with her vegetable plate, being that she’s not a big fan of cold food. However, the vegetable plate was seasoned perfectly, each vegetable grilled to finesse and showing a nice caramelization. The meatballs and garlic bread that Jonathan ordered came with a rich marinara sauce, but they were, however, a bit too dry and salty.
Our entrées came out not too long after the appetizers were cleared – my cannelloni stuffed with beef and spinach, Janice’s fennel and mushroom pizza, and Jonathan’s Incognito burger with fontina cheese, guacamole, and frites. The cannelloni that I ordered was creamy, heavily topped with melted cheese and covered in rich tomato sauce. The dish itself was simple yet elegant and judging from the content of the dish, it was evident that all the ingredients used were fresh. Janice’s fennel and mushroom was another great entrée we had on our table: with the pizza’s crispy thin dough, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, it was a light and traditionally Italian pizza. The Incognito burger that Jonathan ordered was phenomenal as well. All three of us loved the refreshing taste of the guacamole added to the succulent burger. What we did not like, on the other hand, were the frites that came as the side. These frites were literally covered in salt that we had to rub off the salt grains as we ate them.
With a beautiful bar and interior, Incognito Bistro definitely gives off an authentic Italian flair and it’s clear that Incognito Bistro takes great pride in this. Although the restaurant is casual, it is still fancy enough to be a perfect first date location. My photographer friends and I had a great time catching up with some great food and taking pictures of the beautiful dishes we ordered. I highly recommend Incognito Bistro to anyone who’s in town and craving quality Italian food.