Monday, September 12, 2011

Briscola Trattoria [VLOG]

Ahhhh another dinner date with Nicki from View the Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) and Andrew from Dobbernationloves (@dobbernation) - always a fun time with these two, guaranteed! The last time we met up was at La Société (@La_Societe) where we went a bit appetizer crazy. This time at Briscola's just say we went "all-around" crazy =D I want to begin by saying just how floored I was with our dinner that night at Briscola, so much so that I hope more people will know about Briscola (@BriscolaToronto) after my post because it is truly fantastic; I haven't been this happy and impressed with a meal in a long time - not just with a few dishes, but with all dishes, the whole meal, the entire dinner experience was phenomenal~

To truly understand our gastronomic adventure that night and how we endulged in an multi-course dinner at Briscola, you need to watch Nicki's Eye on The Vibe Blog

Read on to see what I thought of each dish ^_*

I have never heard of Briscola before our dinner. It is located on College, near Bathurst in the neighbourhood of Little Italy.

Even though I take a lot of pictures every time I am at a restaurant, I usually just pick a few to post. But at Briscola, it was really hard for me to just pick a few because the decor there is just so beautiful and exquisite that I want to post them all. So I figured the only way was to put them in a collage (to minimize the scrolling for you guys).

Like a lot of the restaurants in Little Italy, Briscola's space is really long and narrow. There are basically three sections in the restaurant. When you walk in, you will immediately see the first section with the cool car on the wall. This section has the bar on the left and seating on the right (red chairs, black wall, and chandeliers). The middle section has the white brick walls with black cushioned chairs on the right and white tiled walls.

The last section furthest into the restaurant has white banquettes, red chandeliers (I don't know if they can still be called chandeliers), black walls on one side and white walls with long mirrors on the other. There's also a long communal table in the middle. Each section in Briscola gives a different vibe and a unique ambiance.

Enough with the decor and onto the food. First off, the bread wasn't just "bread to start, end of story" type bread, this bread was the real deal. The walnut and fig bread at Briscola was so delicious; Andrew and I couldnt' stop eating it and dipping it into our plate of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. By the way, Nicki and I were so impressed with the balsamic vinegar that we each bought a bottle (balsamic $25, olive oil $20).

Briscola Belini - Peach nectar, lemon juice, peach schnapps, prosecco ($12)
Prosecco Sangria - Brandy, prosecco, vino roso & triple sec ($12)

Andrew had the belini and I had the sangria. I loved my sangria because it had tons of fruits in it, good fruits like blueberries and strawberries (not just a slice of lemon, orange, and lime like the sad looking one here)


Fried olives with orange and parsley ($7) - all the deep fried stuff I had at CNE does not even come close to the deliciousness of these fried olives. The batter is so light; it thinly coats the olives and as Nicki said in the video, the orange and parsley really brings out the flavour of the olives. The olives were not greasy at all (there was hardly any oil on the paper).

Proscuitto di Parma with stuffed figs and candied spiced almonds ($15) - Who can resist fresh figs? Especially fresh figs that are stuffed with melted Gorgonzola! The slight saltiness from the Gorgonzola complemented perfectly with the freshness and sweetness of the figs. Another great pairing on the plate was the candied almonds that gave a great crunch and a break from all the other soft textures on the plate. The fresh and thinly sliced prosciutto was a fabulous savoury element to the whole appetizer.

Burrata with oven scorched tomatoes and 15 year old balsamic vinegar ($15) - Nicki and Andrew are both burrata fans while I don't eat burrata much simply because not a lot of restaurants have it on the menu. Not my favourite dish that night - even though it was very buttery and soft in texture, I wish there was more balsamic vinegar to help bring out the flavour of the burrata.

Ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers with hickory smoked tomato jam - This was a seasonal appetizer and is not on Briscola's regular menu. The tempura batter is again very light and not oily at all but still had a very nice crunch. The zucchini flowers were really superb; given that they were fried and stuffed with ricotta, the majority of the flavour I tasted was still the zucchini flowers themselves. 


Tartufo Funghi Pizza - Woodland mushrooms, truffled fonduta, shards of parmigiano, white truffle oil ($18) - This was probably the first time ever that I could actually smell truffle oil (let alone taste it) because the whole pizza was so fragrant. The crust was thin and light, not doughy, and the truffled fonduta was what made this pizza so unique because in contrast to the usual cheeses used on pizzas, the truffled fonduta here was really smooth, almost silky. Paired with the huge pieces of mushrooms and the truffle oil, this pizza rendered me speechless; just all smiles from me ^_^


Pappardelle with bison bolognese with buffalo milk ricotta ($17/$24) - Absolutely loved everything here. The pappardelle was cooked al dente, the bison bolognese was thick and tasty, all this topped with chunks of ricotta. This is an ideal pasta for meat lovers as there was a lot of bison =D

Maltagliati - Basil pesto, oven cured tomatoes and black pepper mascarpone cream ($22) - Where to begin? The oven cured tomatoes had a nice smoky flavour, the basil pesto was fantastic in that it really brought the whole dish together. The black pepper mascarpone cream was kinda melted into the pasta giving it a slight a creamy texture. Last but not least...

...the maltagliati. An extremely thin piece of pasta, cut into long triangles, cooked al dente and was so smooth and slippery (?) that it just literally slides into your mouth. So delicious. So good.


Zuppa di Pesce fra Diavolo - A bounty of clams, mussels, shrimps, scallops and calamari in a spicy tomato broth with braised fennel ($25) - This bowl (which was a lot deeper than it looks) was packed with fresh seafood. I was impressed with the number of large shrimps in it. In the vlog you will see that I dug up a huge squid =P I didn't find the tomato broth to be spicy but I loved it nonetheless because it was tomato-y and not watered down. There was a lot of fennel on the bottom too.

Braised Beef Short Ribs - Farro risotto, vegetables, and a cipollini agro dolce ($28) - Another great dish as the short ribs were soft and tender (my first piece was actually too lean for my liking but my second piece was fattier). The marinade was very flavourful; it actually reminded me a bit of the short ribs from Foxley. As for the risotto, it was a nice change to see that farro was used instead of arborio. Although you can't see the cipollini agrodolce in the picture (sweet and sour flavoured small onions) they were definitely in there; they had a very distinct taste that stood out amongst the other vegetables.


Panettone - Bread Pudding with dates, pistachio and vanilla gelato ($8) - No doubt, this was one of the best bread pudding in the city (the other "best" would be from Marben). The dense bread was filled with nuts which really stood out against the ooey-gooeyness of the warm bread + caramel + ice-cream combination. Whether you want some fresh fruits in between bites of the bread pudding or save it all till the end, it's up to you but definitely great to have them there. In my opinion this bread pudding is really in the category of "to-die-for" desserts.

Salted Caramel Tart - Cocoa nib brittle, chocolate espresso ganache ($8) - A dessert perfect for caramel lovers as there so much caramel in that tart. It was too sweet for me as it seemed like the whole tart was filled with caramel. Having said that, I was the one who finished the tart O_o I guess I still liked it, just not as much as the bread pudding :)

Executive Chef Sean Reeve came out and chatted with us; he was so friendly and nice :) Again, make sure you watch the Nicki's vlog because Chef Sean reveals his own favourite dishes at Briscola too!

This is an online video of Chef Sean from TORO magazine:

Wow what an epic post! I'm just going to end off by saying that I enjoyed Briscola tremendously, so much so that I'm seriously thinking of going there next year to celebrate my birthday ^_^

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