Corso 32 needs no introduction. Highly regarded as one of Edmonton's best, Corso 32 is an award-winning restaurant serving up modern Italian fare. Located right in the heart of downtown, the restaurant is also flanked by its siblings, Bar Bricco and Uccelino.
Unlike its more casual counterparts that accept walk-ins, Corso 32 is so popular that reservations aren't just recommended, they're a must. By nature, it's a restaurant designed for celebrating special occasions (unless you're the type to plan your meals a month in advance).
In celebration of KN's birthday, our reservation for four was also made about a month prior. Even then, we had to wait about 20 minutes for the party before us to clear. 7:30 on a Friday night is a definite hot ticket.
When we were finally ushered in, we were seated at the communal table situated right by the window (yay for natural light!). We were all first-timers to the restaurant, so it was surprising how small and narrow the space actually was. It's definitely cozy.
In the end, there wasn't enough bread to finish off the ricotta, so our server sent out another round of crostini ($4.00). It wasn't a big deal, but a little heads-up on the surcharge would have been nice.
Think melty, gooey cheese (infused with truffles, no less) sandwiched between two pieces of perfectly crisp crostini. Top that off with fresh and sweet grilled scallions, and a perfectly oozy yolk, and you have a sandwich of dreams. This is definite comfort food, elevated to the nth degree.
I wouldn't say it's a dish conducive to sharing if you're in a group larger than two people, but I guess that just means you have to order one for yourself.
The arancini is one of Corso's most popular items, so we settled for a half portion ($9.00 for four). Crispy risotto balls filled with leek, prosciutto, whey, and fontina. Breaking into the thin exterior revealed a creamy, gooey, almost molten centre. With all the cheese we consumed in our previous courses, one arancini was definitely enough for each person.
Moving onto the "mains," we decided on the agnolotti ($27.00), a stuffed fresh pasta filled with boschetto al tartufo and ricotta. The little purses of pasta were served simply with a butter sauce, peas, and freshly grated parmigiano.
I really don't think we thought things through when ordering since we more than exceeded our daily intake of cheese at this point. Overall, the peas were bright and fresh, and a nice contrast to the rich and heavy pasta.
Unfortunately, this was our least favourite dish of the night since it was way too salty. When it comes down to it, I think I have a pretty high salt tolerance, but this was definitely over-salted. We had a hard time finishing it despite sharing it among the four of us.
I'm not a huge chocolate person so I didn't have more than a couple of bites, but chocoholics would be in chocolate heaven. The torta was rich, smooth, and dark. Dense and thick like a chocolate ganache, but a bit lighter in texture like a mousse. The best part was definitely the salty hazelnuts. Combined, the dessert eats almost like a grown-up version of Nutella.
In a way, Corso's reputation is a double-edged sword. Expectations and standards are much higher if you pair popularity with its degree of exclusivity. For the most part, I was pretty satisfied with how our meal went. The service we received was good, albeit a little slow, but I know it can't be helped with how busy the restaurant is. Besides the pappardelle, the antipasti were definite wins. Get the grilled cheese, and if you can, try not to share.