Bar Bricco 2.0


February 8, 2024

Words by: Twyla Campbell

Photography by: Erin Walker

Change is good, and details are everything

In September 2023, Daniel Costa opened the doors to a revamped, larger Bar Bricco.  

The increased square footage comes from the physical absorption of Corso 32, Costa’s flagship restaurant next door, and the one (of three) on Jasper Avenue that didn’t survive the damaging economic impact of the pandemic. Many Edmontonians revered Corso 32 as one of the best Italian restaurants in the city and hoped for its resurrection, but Costa had other ideas. 

“It was time,” he says, matter-of-factly. “We made it to 10 years, and I’m happy with that.”

Bar Bricco Edmonton

All is not lost. The change bodes well for customers and Bar Bricco staff, too, many of whom became part-owners including Micah Joffe and Matt Guerin, both in the kitchen the day we arrived.  At an impressive 13-year tenure, Joffe lays claim to the longest span of consecutive employment years; other members of the team, like Geurin and general manager, Kaitlyn McWilliams, maintain the company employment average of 10 years. This speaks well of a business in an industry known for high turnover and lacklustre dedication. 

Costa says that keeping creative people excited in this profession and treating them with respect empowers them. “It’s nice working for someone who’s invested in you,” Joffe says of Costa. “Your hard work matters. There’s no complacency here. Everyone pushes to get better.”

The evidence is in the stellar food and service, and the amalgamation of the two restaurants means you get both. A bigger space offers more tables for sit-down dinners and a menu that hearkens back to Corso days, but one that also offers Bricco spuntini (small plates). 

Aesthetically, the brawniness of Bar Bricco prevailed. The palette is still predominantly charcoal-hued, but with new surfaces and accent pieces that combine the old world with the new: French cabinets from the 1890s; American steel-and-glass wall panels from the 1920s; pendant lighting from mid-century Denmark; sconces from Art Deco Saskatchewan; vintage plates from Hungary alongside modern dishes from Japan. Collectively, they create a curious display that works in harmony from one custom-created wallpapered wall to the next, with an assortment of quirky art placed here and there for patrons to discover.  

Acid-washed zinc replaced thick wood that topped the long bar. This was the preferred place to sit and enjoy drinks and comfort food like the (near legendary) fonduta agnolotti and the “cacio e pepe” soft scrambled eggs—both of which survived the takeover—but where newer creations like the chili- and citrus-accented tuna crudo dish are on offer to awaken the palate of the weary wanderer and residential gourmand, alike. 

Food is still meant to be shared, whether it’s spuntini like the nduja and charred tomato crostino or heftier offerings like the tagliolini, a mound of long, thin, ribbon pasta bathed in reduced chicken jus and served with beech mushrooms; a heady and satisfying umami bomb that begs for a glass of Barolo. 

The wagyu belly is a cut seldom seen on menus but in the hands of Bricco staff, a thing to behold. That it’s Brandt Lake Wagyu has a great deal to do with its noticeable beefiness and luscious attributes, but how it’s crispy on the outside yet not over-cooked inside, is a testament to the chefs’ skills. The finished piece is crowned with a crumbly mix of anchovies, parsley, oregano, garlic and chilies and then sliced into thick pieces, making it easy to share. Add the butterleaf lettuce salad, and you’ve got a meal that offers a balanced composition of texture and acidity. 

Bricco 2.0 is the sum of many parts. The vibe is lively, interactive and convivial in a refreshed venue that is intriguing yet familiar. A place where delicious food and drink have come to be expected, where neither disappoints and where change, even when rooted in the tradition of Italian food, can be remarkably rewarding.

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