One of the most exciting aspects of living in New York is the abundance of both brand new and existing places yet to be discovered and enjoyed. Incognito Bistro, a unique Roman bistro with Scottish elements tucked away on a quiet street in the Flatiron District, is one such place worthy of discovery. With a stunningly executed menu, an unthreateningly classy atmosphere, and the recent addition of live jazz music on Tuesday evenings, Incognito is a breath of fresh air on the New York restaurant scene.
Owned by husband and wife duo Chef Paolo Montana and Adriana Moretti, Incognito’s dishes, atmosphere, and service reflect a steadfast commitment to quality, warmth, and authenticity. The menu primarily features updates on Roman classics, though there is also a Scottish corner, which was added to celebrate the couple’s Italian-Scottish heritage.
You may not have previously considered ordering Scottish food at dinner, but the five offerings in the Scottish corner of Incognito’s menu are a delightful surprise. The Isle of Skye Scallops, made with fresh Scottish scallops and pan roasted with parmesan crust, are creamy and succulent. The menu item likely to raise the most eyebrows is the Highland Haggis, but this light and flavorful lamb sausage with creamed potatoes and whisky jus bears no resemblance to the greasy minced mess of many people’s nightmares.
The meat and seafood entrees at Incognito are particularly outstanding and worth repeat visits to the restaurant. Modern flavor elements are incorporated into traditional entrees to enhance, rather than mask, quality cuts of meat and fresh seafood. The mouthwatering Rack of Lamb, for example, utilizes a superb cut of meat and spot-on preparation; the cherry on top is the addition of slightly spicy Dijon mustard and soft seasoned breadcrumbs.
As this is first and foremost a Roman bistro, standards for the ample Italian offerings are high, and the finished products don’t disappoint. While pasta in many restaurants has a tendency to be heavy, Chef Montana’s take on classic pasta dishes such as risotto, lasagna, and carbonara expertly balances overall lightness with full, satisfying flavor.
The addition of live jazz music on Tuesday nights has made the already relaxing dining experience at Incognito Bistro all the more personal. No matter how carefully selected a restaurant’s recorded music, nothing compares to feeling the soulful energy of live instruments and a live voice. In addition to its truly outstanding menu, Incognito affords diners an opportunity so rare in New York—the opportunity to fully disengage from the chaos of the city and to be present without being overwhelmed.
Incognito Bistro is located at 30 West 18th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and features live jazz music every Tuesday from 8-11 pm.