After all of the perfection yesterday, a perfect dinner was clearly in order for last night. Gina brought us to Pizzeria Del Corso, an Italian restaurant near her house in Marine Park. From the outside, the restaurant looks very “Brooklyn” …
But inside, it is full of old-world charm and class:
(Left to right: Kate, Kareen, Chris, Gina, me)
What makes this restaurant particularly special is that Nino, one of the owners, is an Olympic pizza tosser!
(He’s the one in the hat, top right, and in the hat, bottom left-ish front … read to the bottom for his live demo for us!)
As we perused the menu, some of my favorite things materialized right before my eyes.
Sesame Italian bread:
And olive oil with balsamic vinegar that our server painstakingly poured for us:
We went through two whole baskets, most of which were probably eaten by me!
To start, Gina and Chris ordered the meatballs:
I had a bite (of course). If I had an Italian grandma, her meatballs would taste like this!
Kate and I split the chickpea appetizer (with garlic, oregano, and olive oil):
There were big chunks of garlic in there! I love it. And we made sure to sop up every last drip of olive oil sauce with the bread 🙂
For her main meal, Kareen ordered the homemade ravioli (all of the pasta at this restaurant is homemade):
I had a bite … also tasted like it was made by my [imaginary] Italian grandmother.
Chris, after much hemming and hawing and general trepidation, eventually broke down and ordered the fresh barracuda special. (Nino seemed to have gotten a huge barracuda in honor of his father’s birthday celebration, also taking place in the restaurant last night, and he came over and bullied Chris into ordering it instead of his planned swordfish.)
I had a bite and was so pleasantly surprised! Given the predatory and huuuuuge nature of the barracuda, I would have expected a very aggressive and strong fish flavor … but it just tasted like a light and fresh white fish. Delicious, especially with those grape tomatoes all over it! Chris ended up eating it all (we were so proud!) except for a broccoli stalk that he was about to let leave the table with the server until I sent him the evil eye and rescued it!
Gina ordered the spaghetti carbonara with pancetta:
So cheesy and rich!
Kate and I split the grilled calamari arugula salad:
These calamari were so perfectly grilled. The texture had just the right amount of chew.
I would have been completely satisfied with that, but we had also ordered the pizza with chantarelle mushrooms and truffle oil! We shared one piece with the others and split the rest between the two of us.
This might be the best crust I have ever tasted!
The toppings were also delicious, but I have to say, the pizza could have been enhanced by goat cheese (or something equally tangy) and more truffle oil. I’m sure that would have taken away from the “traditional Italian simplicity” thing going on, but as far as truffle pizza goes, I think Olivia still has the market cornered!
After successfully inhaling every crumb of food on our plates, we were planning to share the tiramisu for dessert … until our server clued us in to a brand new dessert Nino had just developed the day before. We’re suckers for trying new things (except for Chris, who generally needs some prodding :-P), so we switched gears and accepted the challenge.
Zeppoles filled with cannoli cream!! These were super tasty, but we all agreed they could use a little extra pep … perhaps by adding almond liqueur to the cream or serving them with more blueberry sauce. (We also discovered that each zeppole had a little blueberry hidden inside — very cute.)
I had a whole ball and used it to collect all of the sauce on the plate 🙂
While we were waiting for our check, Nino finally came out to perform!
I tried to take some pictures without flash, and Nino all but disappeared because he was moving so fast!
Nino then brought out a second pie to freestyle toss both at the same time, and he disappeared even more!
Kate actually took video on her camera, so I might try to get my hands on that later to see if I can figure out how to upload it. This was seriously so impressive! It was like Nino was hip hop dancing while juggling constantly twirling pizza doughs. I’m amazed!
*** Edited to add: The pizza-tossing video is here!!! ***
After dinner, we were glad we had walked to the restaurant because we really needed more walking with our full bellies! On the way, we saw some beauteous spring sights.
And, in Kareen’s own backyard (she also lives in Marine Park):
Again, this was such a lovely day! Even though Marine Park is very much a part of Brooklyn and the city, it has a much more residential feel to it and serves as an excellent “day trip” location as long as you’re accompanied by someone in the know (like Gina!).
Have you ever seen (or heard of) Olympic pizza tossing?