Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food Bloggers Cosca Dinner #2

Cosca is a small restaurant with a small storefront on Davie. Even with the wooden sign on the sidewalk, you may very well have walked by it several times without realizing it. Inside this skinny space is a bar, a row of tables, a single bathroom, then the kitchen beyond. It's a tight place, and on busy nights with a busy bar, one can well imagine the Fire Department might bust it for overcapacity at any moment.

The Food Bloggers organized a dinner at Cosca -- again. Not surprising as one of the organizers, Ronald, has been going on and on for literally months (even before the Food Bloggers group began) about how divine the tiramisu is there. There was a close call at Nicli Antica Pizzeria last week when he was almost loathe to admit the tiramisu there was really good too. (Maybe even... just as good?! Horrors!)

Dinner was at 6:15 pm. When I walked in at 6pm, it was dead inside except for a few diners who weren't part of our group. Not the usual packed-and-with-lineup crowdedness. This sort of thing apparently happens to non-sports bars on hockey nights. Want to go to a normally packed place like Cosca? Try hockey night.

Just two staff working the room tonight: Jacqueline who was mostly bar; and Wheldon, who did most of the frantic running around and trying to herd our group into some sort of organized order-your-drinks-and-food. Neither were dressed like typical servers. There's a nice put-you-quickly-at-ease vibe of friendliness here. It's also a small place, so a third person might have just gotten in the way trying to squeeze in between the tables and what not.

This dinner started with six appetizer plates for fifteen people -- a freebie negotiated on our behalf by organizer and event host Ronald. Can't really complain about something that's free, but I'm not going to bother trying to review the food: After it's mangled by everyone, I can't be sure I got a proper taste of anything. Definitely not the Proscuitto Melone ($12; San Daniele proscuitto, arugula and melon) as one of the diners at our table took several *minutes* trying to cut the one slice of proscuitto left, and must have given up because when the plate passed to me, there was just greens and melon.
WTF? Thanks for sharing, guys. Pfft.

There was also a Cosca Flatbread ($10; basil pomodoro sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano; half of it under token greens), shaped into a long rectangle to match the serving dish. Undercooked flatbread. Busy kitchen, I suppose. It's too bad because a decent flatbread to hold the ingredients would have made a huge difference to the enjoyment of the appy. I'm not asking for wood-fired oven Pizza Napoletana, but hot, freshly-baked flatbread would have done wonders.

Also among the appys was Caprese Napoleon ($9; vine tomato, fresh mozzarella, pesto, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic reduction): Basically a tomato cut into layers, and with mozza and goodies in between. (And of course, when you see "mozzarella" in a proper Italian restaurant, you can expect it to be the soft milk-white stuff and not the yellowish stuff you get on your Pizza Factory three-for-one.) Pesto was on the side, in a ring on the plate. My unrefined palate didn't feel this was particularly special, although the presentation was cute and pretty. For me, it would certainly have not been worth the $9 price tag. Special thanks to Cosca and Ronald for allowing our table to try this one for free.

Finally, there was a Malanzane Arrosto ($11; roasted eggplant, basil marinara, smoked mozzarella). While carefully trying to make sure I left some to go around the table, I probably missed out on something here... I just got a chunk of mushy eggplant.

Then our table of seven split up into two teams of three and one loner who wanted a non-pasta item. She was the one smart one at the table. Turns out doing the "Pasta Platters" deal is a Bad Move for for food bloggers. (to be continued)

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