Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Pasta like it's 1969
Corso's Italian Restaurant
29691 Lorain Road
North Olmsted, OH
The dining room at Corso's reminded me immediately of my first "grown-up" restaurant, where I went on the occasion of my sixth birthday. (There was no prime rib on the children's menu, so I was allowed to order it off the regular menu, and I ate every bite, then got indignant when the waitress insisted that my daddy must have helped me.)
Black vinyl chairs and booths, rough white plaster walls, green tablecloths, a faux grape arbor over the bar -- not much appears to have changed over the years. Except this used to be a Hungarian restaurant named Szarca's, which explains the "Hungarian Wienerschnitzel" and paprikash on the otherwise traditional Italian menu.
Many of the diners who came out on an icy weeknight were ordering the spaghetti dinner special ($7.95 on Monday and Tuesday, $9.95 the rest of the week), a huge plate of pasta and red sauce, with generous, nicely seasoned meatballs.
I also tried the veal parmigiana ($17.99), which arrived swimming in tomato sauce and cheese. But underneath was a tender cut of meat, not a pressed veal patty, and the sauce tasted homemade.
Meals came with a simple salad of crisp Romaine and iceberg, shredded cheese, and a good creamy Italian dressing. About half of the wine list consisted of the usual, commonly available American wines. Most of the rest were Italian, but I also spotted a German Piesporter and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
The dinner menu also included fried chicken, filet mignon (the most expensive item at $19.99), barbecued pork ribs, broiled scrod, and crab-stuffed flounder.
Service was efficient, and waitresses chatted comfortably with the guests. Leftovers were packaged in white boxes, stacked and wrapped in cellophane like one of those gift towers from Harry and David.
Just curious: Why does "al dente" pasta require a $1 surcharge, according to the menu? Doesn't al dente mean you cook it less?