Italian and more at Gables’ Il Corso
It’s hard to stand out in the crowded field of dining and drinking establishments on Coral Gables’ Restaurant Row, so it’s not a surprise that some newcomers struggle to find their identity.
Like a middle child born into a brood of popular over-achievers, the 6-month-old Il Corso Trattoria is flanked on Giralda Avenue by longtime hangout The Bar, with its stalwart stream of party-minded drinkers, and lively gastropub The Local, with its adventuresome menu and craft beers.
Housed in the cavernous space formerly occupied by Archie’s Pizza, Il Corso serves traditional Italian fare — pizzas, pastas, risotto and trattoria-style entrees. But it tries to make everybody happy by throwing in barbecue and buffalo chicken wings on its antipasti menu and including ubiquitous Miami desserts like tres leches among its sweet endings.
An oversized, laminated menu with photos of dishes screams “budget,” but a final bill of $200-plus for a group of four says otherwise.
The confusion continues on the plate. Our flat-iron steak, with cremini mushrooms and four-cheese pasta, came out perfectly cooked and seasoned — easily the best dish of the night. But a sautéed veal cutlet over truffle cream baby spinach and angel hair pasta was a tough slice of dry meat that looked as though it had been popped in a toaster on its darkest setting.
Complimentary bread, served in a wire cone with a small plate of olive oil and Parmesan cheese, was warm but hard. The penne bolognese, made with ground beef and pork, was dull and flavorless, but thin, brick-oven-fired pizzas pleased us with airy crusts and generous fresh toppings of tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, red onions, meats and olives.