Incalmo Tacoma opens downtown inside the Museum of Glass
Surprise! Incalmo Tacoma opened quietly on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, inside Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. Incalmo currently operates during museum hours – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays – and will serve a menu of fresh pasta, sandwiches and Roman pizzas for lunch that starts at 11 a.m., plus pastry and espresso service that begins at 10 a.m. Eventually, dinner is on the horizon, but more on that in a moment.
Incalmo Tacoma is named after a fusing technique used in glass art, a nod to its location inside Tacoma’s treasured Museum of Glass. Its owners described it as a nod to the fusion between the museum and The Table, their other restaurant in Tacoma.
Diners do not have to pay museum admission to visit the restaurant. There’s a separate restaurant entrance accessible outside the museum entrance.
“It will be an operating restaurant that’s for museum patrons as much as it will also be for the general community to come and eat, outside of visiting the museum,” said co-owner Holly Bray, who owns The Table with husband Derek Bray, via message.
Incalmo really does look like an extension of The Table – especially its fresh pasta format and the backbone of Northwest ingredients with far reaching influences.
The Brays opened The Table in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood in 2015. They had flirted with expanding to a second restaurant in the past. The timing and location were just right for this expansion.
Business partner Trevor Hamilton explained via message, “The museum approached us over the summer, along with a few other restaurants. We proposed an extension of the Table with an Italian twist, and that we would utilize the space for dinner service, something that hasn’t been done there before.”
Longtime diners of The Table will recognize Incalmo’s focus on Northwest ingredients and handmade pastas, specifically the ricotta gnocchi with the mornay sauce and the pappardelle. Gnocchi and pappardelle are listed on the menu at Incalmo, although described in slightly different configurations. As with The Table, there will be an emphasis on partnering with local food producers.
Said Hamilton, “We are exited to be using produce from Zestful Gardens like we do at The Table for our sauces and salads, and locally foraged mushrooms from Adam’s Mushrooms. We are also really excited about partnering with Bluebeard to have full service espresso.”
He added, “We ordered a pasta extruder from Italy, the most expensive kitchen item we have ever purchased. The quality of the pasta from the bronze die is crazy. We use Italian semolina flour and really gorgeous produce from Zestful.”
Hamilton will run operations and the beverage program at Incalmo. Stephen Gangl will serve as chef de cuisine. Derek Bray will serve as executive chef, splitting his time between The Table and Incalmo.
The fresh-pasta menu at Incalmo looks to be a robust assortment: gnochetti mac and cheese ($13), pappardelle with a pork ragu ($18), wild mushroom rigatoni ($16) and an interesting sounding choose-your-own-bucatini adventure with a choice of salami, meatballs or roasted vegetables as the protein and a choice of pesto, pomodoro or cream sauce ($15).
Pizzas are Roman-style in five configurations – prosciutto, funghi, sausage and fennel, spicy salami and a cheese pizza (all priced $15). Sandwiches include a porchetta ($18), a fried chicken sandwich ($15), confit albacore served open faced ($16), meatball ($14) and roasted veggie ($16). On the appetizer list, there’s a meat-and-cheese plate ($17) and more. What makes the pizza Roman style? “It’s closer to a bread dough than most pizza doughs,” said Gangl via message. He ferments his dough for three to five days.
Incalmo’s dining room is well-suited for groups with communal-style tables in a similar fashion as what diners will find at The Table. Those with mobility issues: the accessibility of the restaurant is a bit limited for seating. The majority of seating is at high-top tables. Look for the low-top tables – the more accessible seating – along the windows.
The restaurant intends to expand to dinner service in January. “We will be opening for dinner in January, at least Friday and Saturday. The menus will be a little more Northwest like The Table but with an Italian bend. We will have an extensive wine list like The Table. We are also excited to offer outdoor dining in the spring,” said Hamilton, who is a sommelier.
Where: 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, inside the Museum of Glass
Restaurant web: https://www.thetabletacoma.com/
Museum web: https://www.museumofglass.org/visit
Museum admission required? No, there’s an entrance from the outside that gets you into the restaurant. You don’t have to pay for admission to eat at Incalmo, although everybody should support MOG and its mission.
MORE FRESH PASTA TO TRY
In Tacoma, here are my two favorite fresh pasta restaurants to check out.
2701 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-383-7000; primogrilltacoma.com
This Mediterranean-focused restaurant from chef-owner Charlie McManus and wife Jacqueline Plattner in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood features a feast of handmade pastas that carry sauces swiped with Mediterranean flavors.
I visited McManus in the kitchen last year to watch his biga at work (it’s a thing of beauty) and I also caught the tail end of the pasta making process. Buried deep in the back kitchen at Primo Grill, what diners won’t see are racks and racks of pasta drying and waiting for a quick dunk and plating.
If you’ve never been to Primo Grill, make it a point to go and the first thing to order is the fresh pasta, plus save room for the restaurant’s fantastic pizza made with that long-fermented biga that is older than the current home of Primo Grill, which relocated to Sixth and Oakes from its perch at Sixth and Pine in 2014.
On the menu now is tagliatelle with a pork ragu ($21), trofie with a roasted pistachio-basil pesto ($20), cappellini with chanterelle mushrooms ($26), pumpkin ravioli ($22) and penne alla vodka ($20).
1102 A St., Suite 220, Tacoma; 253-223-7184; enramatacoma.com
Tucked inside the Courthouse Square building in downtown Tacoma is En Rama, an exquisite restaurant serving small plates, fresh-made pasta, one of the city’s best burgers and a cocktail list that plays to whatever penchant owner Chris Keil is needling at the moment. (At its foundation, En Rama is a cocktail lounge with a focus on sherry. The restaurant is named after a sherry term, after all.)
From the shoebox-sized kitchen, Chef Josh Press turns out plate after plate of exquisite pasta. Earlier this spring, I feasted on his bucatini with the addition of a big, jammy egg ($24). Creamy/springy noodles came jacketed in a light cream sauce threaded with crisped sunchokes and mushrooms with a river of egg yolk to dredge that bucatini. Radiatore was perfectly formed with enough nooks and crannies to hide surprise bursts of pistachio-mint pesto ($14). A crunchy layer of breadcrumbs finished that dish. There’s always a surprise texture pleasure to work your way through in Press’s dishes.On the En Rama menu now is paccheri with a beef ragu ($14/$24), tagliatelle with a pork bolognese ($14/$24), squid ink bucatini with manila clams ($14/$24) and creste di gallo pasta with wild mushrooms ($14/$24).