Twirl Your Forks in These Southern Italian Pastas
Written by: Andrew Smith
Photographed by: Laura Perkins Il Corso Palm Springs
Il Corso’s newly opened Palm Springs location sits between the Kimpton Rowan Hotel and Starbucks Reserve in a quaint Italian piazza setting. The interior—an exact replica of the Palm Desert location—is rustic, with an authentic Tuscan feel. Mario Marfia, Il Corso’s executive chef and owner, worked his way from Sicily, through the Mediterranean, to Los Angeles and eventually, Palm Springs.
“It’s Southern Italian cuisine,” General Manager Carlos Rocha explains. “Simple, traditional ingredients like tomato sauce, and light on the garlic.” Il Corso Palm Springs
Rocha went on to explain that it’s a common misconception about Italian food being heavy on garlic, while creamy dishes are more common in Northern Italy. “Mario’s dishes are simple, with a light touch of garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and vegetables,” he adds. They do prepare some dishes from Northern Italy, but it’s predominantly Sicilian.
Rocha recommends the seafood, which is simply grilled with a touch of garlic and olive oil. The Dover Sole is particularly appealing, as the servers debone it tableside. Another favorite is the Mediterranean sea bass, prepared all’isolana—grilled then finished in the oven with tomatoes, black olives and a white wine sauce. During our visit, Rocha featured the Bavette All’Astice and the Filetto al Peppe Verde as dishes he calls “representative of Mario’s cuisine: simple, delicious, and hugely popular.”
Bavette All’Astice is a lobster pasta dish. They take a Maine lobster tail, chop it and sear it, adding cherry tomatoes, arugula, linguine pasta and a white wine sauce. The shell of the lobster tail decorates the dish.The pasta is cooked perfectly al dente, and the lobster is tender, mild in flavor, with a lightly smoked char from the pan. It’s a nice blend of oil, sweetness and smoke against the tasty flavor of the lobster.
The Filetto is an eight-ounce prime filet mignon topped with a green peppercorn sauce. The sauce is made up of shallots, brandy, butter and a secret medley of additional ingredients. The steak has a lightly charred outer and perfectly tender, soft interior—it’s an exemplary cut by itself. The dish is served with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus that just epitomizes the concept: fresh, crisp and lightly charred, with a delicate seasoning of olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. The filet and the sauce combine to find that perfect balance of rich, decadent flavor without being overwhelming.
Il Corso’s breads, pizza dough, pastas and sauces are all made from scratch. Be sure to stick around for the signature homemade tiramisu or cannoli. Chef Marfia and his son, Claudio, are both pastry chefs. Delizioso!
111 N Palm Canyon Dr, Ste 180
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760.656.3770 Il Corso Palm Springs