It only seems like yesterday, but it’s actually been almost 4 months since my first visit to Corso 32 back in early January. Maybe a bit early for a return blog post, the ever evolving menu means that Corso 32 might just be be the kind of place that can put out blog fodder within smaller than normal time frames. So with a reservation for 4 in place, Sarah and I were happy to be back in the heart warming company of Linda and Jason.
The restaurant was already hopping when we arrived for our early seating and we found ourselves directed to the long communal table. Sitting next to the street allowed us to relax in the welcoming evening sunshine while taking in the entire restaurant and its clockwork-like focus. The menu, which as you notice above, was created the day of our visit and had changed slightly from our first visit. Not entirely new though, I think Daniel Costa has found a great trick. Take the crispy rice balls known as arancini. On this occasion they were filled with smoked pork, oyster mushrooms and fontina. While on our previous visit, it was just cheese and mushrooms. Or the ravioli, which on our first visit contained pulled pork, and on this occasion Yukon gold potatoes. Brilliant, always fresh, and inspiring.
Having fond memories of the above dish, Whipped Goat Ricotta – Maldon Sea Salt, Crostini, Sarah and I were happy to share in the joy with L & J. Lucky for everyone at the table, the dish was exactly how I remembered it. The ricotta was as smooth as could be; I could probably lick it off a knife like peanut butter. The crostinis were perfectly toasted, and when mixed with a drizzle of oil and the already gorgeous ricotta, combined for crunchy bombs of heaven.
We also split an order of Wild Arugula & Fennel Salad – Roasted Hazelnuts, Parmigiano. The skillfully dressed greens and choice of toppings made this a success. The freshly shaved parm lingered lovingly on the palette, while the crunchy hazelnuts would bat clean up and help wash the mouth clean. Delicious! I have to agree with J who mentioned that arugula can be so delicate that it’s a bit difficult to snag with your fork. Regardless of whether you use a knife, spoon, or your hand, I have to think this is a salad to order.
Even with a pretty solid portion of mains, both Sarah and L ordered the Yukon Gold Potato Ravioli – Brown Butter, Sage. I couldn’t help but notice the ravioli on our last visit also included brown butter and sage. J, who I swear almost ordered the same dish, changed things up and went with Crispy Gnocchi – Black Kale, Pecorino, Spicy Crumbs. Passing on the 48 hour steak still on the menu, I ordered the Polpette – Golden Raisins, Pinenuts, Tomato Sugo, Swiss Chard. The ravioli was rich, decadent and maybe the best dish on the table. If you want to treat yourself or drown your sorrows in something other than a tub of ice cream, I think a plate or two of these perfect made ravioli’s would do the trick. The gnocchi was my least favourite dish on the table, as the crispy creations were just a little boring for my liking. Even with everything on the plate, I was just overwhelmed with that fried flavour that shone through. The polpette, which is just another name for meatballs, came adorned almost identically to the ones from our first visit. In fact, had I know they would be so similar I would have probably ordered another dish. In saying that, I was in meatball nirvana. Big, juicy, and hot, I could put down more of these amazing balls than any man should admit too. The soft meat combined with a balanced tomato sugo (sauce) and crunchy pinenuts to make a dish that deserves to be on the menu.
As we wrapped up an amazing meal, made better by the truly touching friends, we shared dessert in the shrinking glow of the April sun. Surprised to see finally see the dessert menu growing, Sarah and J made the executive decision to order Pistachio & Olive Oil Cake – Blood Orange, Mascarpone. The warm cake offered a crispy, addictive exterior that yielded a soft beautifully baked interior. The touch of savory marscapone and ripe blood oranges just topped off another well played dish.
If there is one thing to be said, it’s that Corso 32 has been one of the greatest additions to Edmonton in some time. Not only is there a wait list that requires you to be dedicated on the phone and make plans well in advance, there is a taste unlike anything else around that warrants it all. The idea that Edmonton is now putting down solid culinary roots, means that in the coming years, and with the help of establishments like this, we can start building a future heritage that will be talked about in other cities.