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Thursday 8 March 2012

Corso 32 Edmonton, AB simple, rustic flavors of pork jowl, arancini, boschetto al tartufo and a wickedly sinful chocolate torta!

Oink oink! :D
Rating Food 8.5/10, Service 8.5/10
So after hearing some of my girlfriends rave about this place, we finally clear our schedules enough to try out Corso 32, a gem hidden in the middle of downtown Edmonton. Decor is minimalistic, with sealed cement floors, wooden tables, some funky dim lighting.  Adding a touch of fun and rustic charm is a wall mural of an Italian family, and another of what's what on the humble piggy, so you can have a lesson in Italian as you wait for your food if you like. Seating is a bit on the tight side, as the venue is quite narrow, so be prepared to cozy up to your fellow diners.

I have no idea how Susur Lee found it while strolling around... it took us a couple minutes of circling around, and a quick phone call to the friendly hostess who told us some landmarks to look for... before we found it tucked under a massage parlour sign. The window signage is nice and modern, but hard to spot unless you know what you're looking for.. squint... see the 32?

A wide selection of wines are available by the glass or bottle. Since only one of us can drive tonight, I go with their namesake cocktail: Corso Campari - with vodka, limoncello, campari, juice of a blood orange, and a squeeze of lime on the rocks. The bartender was quite generous with the vodka - which muffled all the other flavors, but once the ice melted a bit and diluted the drink a skooch, it was nice and refreshing to have with our meal.

After fiddling with the camera settings - lighting is very very dim (trendier the place, the darker it is!), so apologies for any blurry pics - we checked on live view, but it was a bit hit and miss without blinding the heck out of all the other tables around us. We passed time by chatting and trying to peek over the tall counter leading into the kitchen, and trying to guess what was being cooked by the myriad of yummy savory scents wafting from same kitchen.

the FOOD!
House made goat ricotta
Normally I'm not too fond of goat cheeses, mainly because of the strong taste of well, eating someone's wet damp sweater lol! The light as air creamy house made ricotta has its goatiness cut by the rosemary flavored oil its drowned in, leaving only a trace of goats milk flavor. Served with a sprinkle of maldon sea salt, and plenty of crispy crustinis- so crispy we initially thought they were deep fried. With the contrast of textures and the simple flavors that work so well together, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why this dish is so popular... Its so damn tasty!

Its so good, had to take a close up of the creamy goat ricotta. So simple and tasty - but I much rather head here than attempt to heat up acidified whey and strain it for hours on end. Should have taken a close up of the whipped cream like ricotta spread on the crustini, but we made it disappear...Nom! This is definitely something we're coming back for!
Hello my precious...

Grilled cheese, boschetto al tartufo, charred onion, sunny up egg
Translation: a wickedly yummy grilled cheese with tender sweet grilled green onions and a sunny side up egg. The mild white cheese is made with a combination of sheep and cow's milk flavored with white truffles and when melted inside the crisp buttery bread... OMG. One of the best homey down to earth dishes ever. Nom!!! If the egg was more on the runny side rather than soft, so the egg yolk can ooze out, this dish would have been stellar.  And if you're not impressed by the presentation, too bad... more for me!!

Arancini: funghi misto and fontina
Translation: Riceballs with mushrooms, cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep deep fried. Its like a mushroom and melty cheese risotto ball covered in crisp fine breadcrumbs. Normally made with some diced pancetta, or pepperoni, this vegetarian version was surprisingly a bit heavy on the salt, but they tasted better as they cooled down, and the fontina cheese stayed nice and ooey gooey.  It almost feels like it needs something to brighten it up as they are pretty heavy - maybe a lemon garlic alioli to balance it out?

Yup, we got more than 3 of them rice balls...

Bucatini All’ Amatriciana with Pork jowl, tomatoes, peperoncini and pecorino
The pork jowl (think neck region) is like a crisp piece of bacon - minus the smokiness, and just melts in your mouth as you eat it. The kitchen kindly divided up the pasta into separate dishes, so we didn't have to fight over the pork jowl. Mmmmm! The tomato sauce while in house made, was meant to balance out the rich fatty pork, but it was a bit on the acidic and salty side. We still really enjoyed the dish anyways.

Being quite full with only a bit of space left for dessert, I take a left past the vanilla panna cotta served with vin cotto, pistachios, and honey grappa, as well as the apple crostata with a house made fior di latte gelato for the simple yet decadent chocolate torta with salty hazelnuts. Rich deep dark chocolate amazingness that's not too dense. The torta is almost mousse-like in its lightness. The salted candied hazelnuts are nice and crunchy, but the chocolate torta stands well on its own. And yes, I hogged most of this dessert. I figured its fair since my boyfriend got most of the crispy pork jowl... I think I got the better last bite though... do you sell this by the entire slab?  To quote one of my dessert loving girlfriends "If only I was two inches tall!!!"

Overall, a great little place to tuck into some down to earth and simply prepared well Italian fare. Make sure you make reservations as we saw a few couples turned away when they tried for walk-in tables.  There's a few things to tweak here and there, but its clear there's care and thought put into every dish. Molto gustoso!! :D

Corso 32
10345 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB
Phone (780) 421-4622
Hours Tue-Sun5pm-Midnight, Closed Mon and every second Tues
Corso 32 on Urbanspoon


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