As a fan of Rosso Pizzeria in Garneau for many years, I have always been curious about the restaurant’s younger downtown sibling, Bianco. Where the focus at Rosso is on authentic Italian pizzas with as many ingredients made in-house as possible, Bianco is the same but with a focus on pasta and other Italian mains instead. With so many similar restaurants already populating downtown, like Rigoletto’s, Sicilian Pasta Kitchen and the high-end Uccelino and Corso 32, one might wonder if there is space for another pasta joint so close to all these. The answer is easy and rather blunt: Yes.
Downtown is looking half-apocalyptic when we stroll up to the place, with sunken potholes, cracked sidewalks and a red smoke-screened sun hanging low in the sky. While there aren’t many people out on the streets, Bianco is still packed, and the energy inside is great, with warm, incandescent lighting and a solid selection of upbeat contemporary hip-hop music playing.
Rosso and Bianco both, despite their names, pose a very serious question when you first look at the menu: Red sauce or white sauce? I was certain I’d be ordering a pasta dish, but how do I choose? Knowing the owners and operators, that red sauce was going to be rich and fragrant and pair sweetly with the fresh basil, just like at Rosso. But this isn’t Rosso; this is Bianco, so I figured I had to try a cream-based sauce, so I chose the Casarecce con Pollo e Funghi.
Once the food comes out, the first two things I notice are the richness of the sauce and the perfectly al dente homemade pasta. If you think fresh, homemade pasta doesn’t make a big difference, you need to take a minute right here and now to re-consider everything you think you know about this world we live in. The fresh pasta is firm and light, while the sauce is thick, rich, and packed with flavour. There is no blandness here. The sharp parmesan, the seasoning, and the richness of the cream blend everything perfectly. The mushrooms add savouriness, and the chicken adds the necessary fortitude that makes this a hearty and filling meal.
I have to consciously make an effort to slow my fork, savour the meal, and take my time with it. With a dish like this, I know I’ll be back soon. But for now, I’m lost in the sauce, and I don’t want it to end.
Downtown | 10020 101A Ave NW, Edmonton | 780.761.8838 | biancoeats.com
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