Daniel Costa of Edmonton’s popular Corso 32, opened up Bar Bricco this past weekend. The Italian wine and spuntini bar (late night, small snacks) sits between his infamous Italian restaurant and the old home of downtown’s Transcend, soon to be a third restaurant of the acclaimed chef. Contrasting Corso 32’s “reserve two weeks in advance or good luck to you!” stance, Bar Bricco does not take reservations. Which was intriguing enough that got me thinking, I need to go ASAP or else I’ll never get to try it once word gets out. So Saturday night, Joe and I headed down with the hopes of nabbing two seats.
The place was nearly full when we arrived at 7pm and with only three tables available, we seated ourselves on the far end of the bar. (Natural lighting is required for my poor little phone to take photos!)
Our server/bar tender was excellent, super knowledgeable with the drinks and menu, which you can view at the end of the post. Neither of us are extensive wine drinkers so we opted for our usual. Joe ordered the Deschutes “Mirror Pond” pale ale, and I ordered the Aperol Spritz, something both Cafe Amore and Woodwork made me quite fond of. Delicious! Although I preferred Cafe Amore’s concoction because I’m a definite lightweight and like things with juice. But on to more yummy things!
First to come out was the salumi tasting board. I know what you’re thinking. You can order this from the deli at the Italian Centre and call it quits. Not so my friends, not so. From top, clockwise and the center: speck (a smoked proscuitto), mortadella, Proscuitto Di Parma, housemade porchetta, and Finocchiona. All of which are imported from various regions in Italy, except of course the house made porchetta. My favorite? The Finocchiona, a Tuscan salami that is flavored with fennel seeds. De-frickin-licious. The plate is served with grissini, housemade pencil-sized bread sticks, and a plate of crostini, lightly rubbed with garlic and olive oil. When I asked Joe which was his favorite, he said he liked the ham. They’re… all technically… ham. What he really meant was the mortadella.
Because we couldn’t have enough of meat… our second dish was the carne cruda Piemontese, essentially chopped beef and otherwise known to us as steak tartare. The Italian version of it though is quite simplified, without addition of Worcestershire, and instead a blend of lemon juice, olive oil, truffle oil, salt and pepper, and topped with grated Parmagiano Reggiano. More specifically Vacche Rosso, a cheese made from and named after the native red cows of northern Italy, richer in flavor and slightly creamier. Whoa. This was good stuff! Cut to order, the carne cruda was beautifully done.
Nothing says Italian food than a pasta dish, and with three of them on the menu, it was hard not to pass on it. The egg yolk ravioli came out as a single portion, meant to be cut into to let the yolk meld with the sage butter sauce.
And meld it did. Beautiful and with a very slight hint of sourness from the housemade ricotta filling. God. I could eat a gazillion of these. Or maybe 4 is good too… but honestly. So well done.
Our last dish for the night was agnolotti dal plin, an rectangular ravioli “al plin” or “pinched” to form their distinct shape. Meant to be picked up, dipped in the sage butter sauce, and then into the Parmagiano. Super cute way of eating pasta! Filled with salumi and bread crumbs, the filling was quite light and the thin wrapping really reminded me of the texture of wontons… of course, only I would say such a thing. Great dish if you’re with a group of people!
I rue the days that Joe goes to his parents to eat lunch and is too full to try more dishes! It really messes with my eating. But with drinks and four dishes under our belts, both of us were full. The crowd had petered in and out while we were there, most being family and friends, and those in the industry. Chef Costa was out and about chatting and even poured a few Aperol Spritz for some lucky ladies. We were coincidentally sitting beside the designer of the interior, Joe Johnson, who also designed the Corso 32 space and is currently designing the neighboring space for the third restaurant. The design was based around a gorgeous proscuitto slicer (pictured, above Chef Costa’s hand!), a centerpiece of the restaurant although unbeknownst to us when we entered the restaurant.
Tip: Seat yourself at the right end of the bar when you enter for prime proscuitto slicing action. Also, there’s hooks on the bottom of the bar counter for your jackets and purses. I chose to put my purse on the ground as it was clean for opening, which prompted Joe (the designer, not my Joe) to ask me why I did so. It’s not the design, my purse had nearly a kilo of items, I swear. I was reassured that those hooks could manage heavy purses. And don’t get too whoozy on wine, there’s “Mr. Clean”-clean glass walls surrounding the entrance and a glass door enroute to the washrooms. Don’t want to walk into those!
Congratulations to Daniel Costa and his team for the opening and thank you for the lovely experience! Looking forward to future visits to Bar Bricco! I still have yet to and really really need to try the:
- porcini tajarin – the third pasta dish, mmm mushrooms!
- proscuitto tasting – it’d be interesting to compare different proscuitto from different regions of Italy
- formaggi tasting board – somebody say cheese?
They’re open 6pm-1am Wednesday through Sunday. Parking is a hard find, it’s right on Jasper Avenue. Here’s a look at their full wine and drinks menu and food menu. So sorry about the quality, I can’t bring myself to carry a DSLR in my bag that already weighs a kilo!
10347 Jasper Ave