I recently reviewed Corso 32 for Vue Weekly. Chef Daniel Costa kindly invited me back for a tasting menu. His menu, on that bitterly cold night in the waning depths of winter, was the stuff of legend. We sat in Corso's urbane, rectangular room and sipped flutes of crisp champagne, listened to smooth jazz and catchy alt-rock, and twisted our brains trying to anticipate what would emerge from the kitchen. The kitchen at Corso 32 is semi-open; one can sort of see into the back, see the bobbing and weaving heads and eavesdrop on the chatter of chefs. Not all is visible, though, which lends an air of mystery. One could compare this to a magician's bag of tricks. It is exciting to see the physical components of prestidigitation, but one does not want to figure out the magic trick entirely. It wouldn't be magic then.
Cauliflower fritters were the first among three appetizers - auburn, crackling spheres that yielded tender cauliflower. Beef carpaccio with pickled radishes followed. Here, the delicate beef played off the sweet-sour radishes in a gentle tug-of-war between tender and crisp, meaty and botanical. Goat ricotta and crostini redefines the essence of goat cheese. This cheese has a predilection for musky sharpness, but here it was sultry, smooth, caressing the crisp crostini.
The first main, potato ravioli, resembled two gently-folded handkerchiefs sprinkled with grated parmigiano-reggiano. Lemon and sage added additional nuance. A sturdy cube of braised beef shortrib crowned by shaved celery root veritably ached with flavour. Pasta with braised rabbit, so ideally suited to this frigid night, was buttery, tender, and made me pine for it long after the meal was over. Finally, a rotund polpettone, anointed with tomato sauce and cradled by rainbow-hued swiss chard, brought the meal to a close.
Our coda: chocolate torte with candied hazelnuts paired with a tiny glass of ruby port. Velveteen, bittersweet and over too soon.
Photos (from top to bottom): choc torte with hazelnuts, beef carpaccio with pickled radishes, braised rabbit in pasta and my arm.