Friday, June 19, 2015

Bar Bricco

Last weekend, my friends and I had a celebration for all the June birthdays in our group. We decided to check out Bar Bricco (10347 Jasper Avenue), an Italian wine and spuntini bar owned by the acclaimed Chef Daniel Costa. Located in between his hugely popular modern Italian restaurant Corso 32 and the future home of a currently unnamed 80 seat trattoria, Bar Bricco is the place to wind down with a light snack and a glass of wine. 

Bar Bricco.

I have never been to Corso 32 yet, but I am aware of the need to reserve well in advance if you want to dine there. Contrasting this, Bar Bricco does not take reservations which suggests a more casual atmosphere. 

The bar.
The menu (it's different from the one currently on their website!)

Bar Bricco has a fairly small space (smaller than what I had expected), with only three tables that seat four people each and a long, wooden bar for about 15-18 people. CJ and I arrived when they opened at 5 PM, so we ended up grabbing seats at the bar with the window behind us while waiting for our friends. 

In the meantime, I got a chance to admire the interior. The sleek octagonal tile which curve from the ceiling to the floor make the space appear modern and intimate. If I had to describe Bar Bricco with one word it would be minimalist, highlighted by its small space, small menu, and as you will see, small plates. 

Fonduta Agnolotti Dal Plin with Sage Butter and Parmigiano.

Our group decided to order our own dishes and then share one of Bar Bricco's tasting plates. The first to arrive was June's pick: Fonduta Agnolotti Dal Plin with Sage Butter and Parmigiano ($16). The small ravioli are pinched to form its rectangular shape. To eat it simply pick one up, dip in the sage butter, and then the Parmigiano. I didn't try one, but I can imagine these to be a nice, light bite and super fun to eat. This plate also appears to be great for sharing! 

Egg Yolk Raviolo.

I've heard many wonderful things about Bar Bricco's Egg Yolk Raviolo ($15), so I knew this snack had to be my pick for the evening. Enclosed in the pasta is a rich and creamy ricotta and a beautiful egg yolk that softly oozes out the moment you cut into it. Paired with sage leaves, brown butter, and grated Parmigiano cheese, I seriously can't get over how amazing this pasta dish tasted. The only problem with the raviolo is that I wish there was more... it was that good. 

Culatello served with Grissini, House-Made Focaccia, and Warm Bread.
Culatello "Heart of the Prosciutto".
House-Made Focaccia and Warm Bread.
Grissini Breadsticks.

CJ's pick came from one of the many options listed in the Salumi (cured meats) section of the menu. He ended up going with the Culatello "Heart of the Prosciutto" ($13) which is served with grissini breadsticks, house-made focaccia, and warm bread. The word culatello translates to "little backside", which comes from the fact that the meat is made from the muscle mass in the back leg of the pig. The culatello CJ received was aged for 1 year and imported from Emilia Romagna. CJ enjoyed the thin slices of culatello paired with the crisp bread, which he found to be surprisingly filling. I also had a lot of fun with the grissini breadsticks, which I thought was simply decoration when I first saw it. These crisp, dry breadsticks had CJ thinking of Pocky but without the chocolate. 

Grilled Cheese.

Our server told us that they had one additional offering that wasn't on their menu, and that was their Grilled Cheese ($15). Unfortunately I don't remember the specific components of this dish, but Hamna decided to try it. She liked the extent to which the bread was toasted, but wished there was more cheese in it. There was also an added sweetness and richness with each bite. Personally, Hamna didn't care for this dish but others may find it more enjoyable! 

Rye & Speck Crostini, Ricotta, Cabbage, & Pink Lady Apple.

The last dish to arrive was Jeline's: Rye & Speck Crostini with Ricotta, Cabbage, and Pink Lady Apple ($15). On top of each crostini piece (4 served in total) is a spread of ricotta cheese topped with Speck (smoked prosciutto) and a refreshing mix of cabbage and apple. Jeline noted a good balance of sour from the dressing and a creaminess from the ricotta. Overall, a tasty dish. 

Formaggi Tasting Plate.
5 different cheeses.
Truffle & Black Pepper Honey and House-Made Pear Marmelatta.
House-Made Focaccia and Warm Bread.

A group of 5 people calls for one of Bar Bricco's tasting plates which are perfect for sharing. Our group decided to try the Formaggi Tasting Plate ($28) which comes with 5 different cheeses, grissini breadsticks, focaccia, warm bread, and two condiments. Moving clockwise starting from the 12 o'clock position in my second picture of the cheeses, we received Pecorino Toscano Fresco Aged 3 Months, Black Truffle Moliterno Aged 18 Months, Pecorino Toscano Stagionato Aged 6 Months, Taleggio, and finally Ricotta cheese in the centre. Please correct me if I am wrong about the cheeses - this is only from my memory! 

I really enjoyed trying the cheeses with different combinations of condiments and bread. Each cheese had its own unique taste and sharpness, but I think my personal favourite was the Pecorino Toscano Fresco which was one of the more mild options on the platter. CJ's favourite? The strong, earthy taste of the Black Truffle Moliterno, which is made by infusing a black truffle paste after the moliterno has aged. The truffle and black pepper honey added a nice sweetness to the bread and cheese, and the pear marmelatta was an equally delicious condiment as well. Overall, this tasting plate was excellent and quite filling. I recommend getting this or the Salumi Tasting Plate (which I want to try next!) if you're visiting Bar Bricco with a group of friends. 

Oooo... fancy glass of white wine.

Overall, I would say that my experience at Bar Bricco was pretty awesome. The food I tried tasted absolutely delicious, especially the Egg Yolk Raviolo. Our server/bartender was also really knowledgeable about the menu and wine pairings. I guess one of the few downsides is that the room can get a little loud, and parties consisting of more than 4 people will end up sitting at the bar (since the tables only seat 4) which make it difficult to have good conversation with the entire group. Personally, I felt a bit uncomfortable with a whole row of people at the bar looking at me whenever I snapped a food photo (lol).

Thank you Chef Daniel Costa and your team at Bar Bricco for the wonderful experience! Now I'm even more excited to try out Corso 32 one day. Bar Bricco was voted the best place in Edmonton for small plates and ranked 2nd in best new restaurants in Avenue Edmonton's Best Restaurants 2015 issue - and they definitely deserve these rankings! Hang your belongings on the hooks underneath the bar, kick back with some small bites and a glass of wine from the extensive wine menu, and make some good conversation with your loved ones. Bar Bricco is open Tuesday to Saturday starting from 5 PM - I recommend dropping by early to grab a seat (especially if you're with a group) as the room does fill up fairly quickly. It is also quite easy to get to Bar Bricco by public transportation... just get off the LRT at Bay/Enterprise Square station and take the 104 Street exit south of Jasper Ave. Check out Bar Bricco on Facebook and follow them on Twitter (@BarBricco)! 

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