Corto, The Common at the Forks Market, Winnipeg

March22

Full disclosure: I have been a fan of the cuisine of Scott Bagshaw ever since he opened the first Deseo at the old Royal Albert Arms Hotel on Albert St. in the Exchange. I was even able to pick out one of Scott’s creations in a black box seafood contest where I sat on the panel of judges. There is something about Scott’s conceptions that simply resonate with me.

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Alas, although I have visited both Enoteca and Maque, I have yet to dine at Passero, Bagshaw’s newest restaurant at the Forks. I have attempted to make reservations a couple of times to no avail. As a consolation prize I recently met a colleague at Passero’s daytime manifestation- Corto. At Corto you can order a Italian take away sandwich and either eat it in the Common area seating, at Passero’s slick bar top or at one row of seating in the restaurant. Once you choose a table, you still order at the counter and pick up your food when it is ready. Heck I would wash my own dishes to eat Bagshaw’s delicious fare.

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My lunch date chose the calabrian roast beef which had been grilled with provolone cheese, pepperoncini (a mild Italian pepper) and was served alongside truffle au jus for dipping. Lucky for me, she wasn’t shy about letting me taste a 1/4 of her sandwich (just so you know, I exchanged hers for 1/4 of mine). The sandwich was full of deep beefy tones and was busting with natural juices. We had been warned by the lovely woman at the order desk that our lunches would be messy and she was right.

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My chicken parm was equally messy to eat but there were plenty of napkins provided and used I batch of them. A buttery brioche bun had been stuffed with a perfectly fried chicken fillet which in turn had been smeared with a roasted tomato sauce in addition to goey buffalo mozzarella. Crowning the bun was a dusting of Parmesan cheese to provide salty pungency. Not only did I eat every morsel, I used my fork to scrape the additional bits off the butcher wrap paper.

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My companion also ordered these inauspicious crunchy potatoes. Tiny potatoes had been boiled, smashed and either roasted or perhaps deep fried to create the most amazing side. Maybe it was the garlic aioli that elevated them from tasty to sensational! The other sides were tomato salad, a spin on a Caesar salad or roasted beets. Next time I am at the Forks for lunch, I might just order sides. The romaine salad also included chestnut and crisp sausage and the roasted beets were enhanced by a smoked cambozola cheese, pistachios, blood oranges and salsa verde!

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D and I love going to little places that have a certain vibe that they could be anywhere in the world-Possero/Corto is one of those places. I look forward to perching on one of these stools to check out the concoctions that both the kitchen and the bar is putting out. As I was leaving, I spotted a condiment out on the bar top. It was a squeeze bottle of my favourite black truffle oil. Another reason I cannot wait to visit again!

Kath’s quote: A great chef is an artist that I truly respect. -Robert Stack

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Love never fails.

 

 

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