a dinner party at corso 32

Corso 32 has been on our list of places to try for a while now, so I was excited to finally go for dinner there on Thursday night.  We were going with two other couples, so I made a reservation over a week in advance.  We arrived at around 8:30 and our table wasn't quite ready, but it was no big deal, they gave us all a lovely glass of prosecco to enjoy while we waited.  The decor is modern, yet cozy, with exposed brick and simple glass pendant lights.  The lighting is low and the atmosphere is sophisticated but relaxed.  Once seated, we settled in right away with a nice bottle of red wine...I picked it, but I don't remember what it was, which is too bad, because we all enjoyed it.  The menu at Corso 32 focuses on simplicity with locally sourced ingredients (when possible).  Everything is made from scratch, they even cure and age their own meats.

Everything (and I do mean everything) on the menu sounded fantastic, and the deliberations around the table took awhile as we were deciding.  I was leaning towards the ricotta crostini as a starter, but Trevor was really excited about the night's special: cured duck, sliced paper thin and drizzled with olive oil, and served with arugula on bread.  It was really good.  I loved the combination of the rich tasting duck with the fresh arugula.  I also got to sample some of Allison & Vince's ricotta crostini and it was fantastic as well.  The ricotta was so smooth and slightly sweet on perfectly crispy bread.

For mains, I decided on the lemon and chili porchetta.  It was perfectly cooked, with a just-spicy-enough chili crust, served sliced on top of roasted ramps (think: spring onions).  There was a shaved fennel and radish salad with some greens served on top.  All of the flavours went together so well; it was fresh and savory and definitely hit the spot.  I also need to mention that the portion was huge!  I shared around the table, did my best and there was still some left on my plate at the end. 

Trevor ordered the ricotta gnocchi with lamb ragu, which was also one of the evening's specials (here is a link to Daniel Costa's gnocchi recipe) .  The gnocchi were large and pillowy soft, just like they should be and the ragu was delicious.  He wasn't the only one that enjoyed that meal at our table.  Caitlin went with the 48 hour flat steak, it must have been good because she was reluctant to share!  Steven had the tagliatelle with stinging nettle pesto, which also looked fantastic.  Allison couldn't resist the goat cheese ravioli (as a fellow cheese-lover I was tempted by that one as well).  Vince said that there was more cheese than pasta in every bite.  After the ricotta crostini and about half of the ravioli Allison was definitely on cheese overload...just in time for something sweet to finish it all off.

Although we were both full after all the amazing things we had already eaten, there wasn't any question in my mind that I would be ordering dessert.  We decided on the pistachio and olive oil cake.  It was sooo good.  The blood orange helped to keep the flavour light and refreshing while the marscapone cheese added a richness and depth to the light, moist cake.  Every single bite was scraped from our plate.  The chocolate hazelnut torte and the zeppole also looked good, but they'll have to wait for our next visit.

By the time we left the restaurant it was almost midnight.  It was an excellent evening enjoyed with friends and fantastic food.  I can't believe we haven't been to Corso 32 sooner, and we will most certainly be back.

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