Like a Day in Venice, Italy

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Submitted by Cape Coral foodie Shana Overhulser

That is what comes to mind when you dine at La Corte Garden Bistro, previously known as Brew Babies. The decor is an understated elegance with some noticeable updates made by new owners, Michael Bodetti, Alex Vitali and Vincent Palmese. The entrance now welcomes you with a brick-laid walkway, wrought-iron doors and high archway. The circular courtyard still holds the mosaic-tiled fountain and romantic outside fireplace, but step inside the bar and adjacent dining areas and you’ll notice all new wooden flooring, new curtains and a fresh color scheme with European furnishings and French wall hangings. 

While the decor screams Italy, the food offerings are derived from all worldly cuisine. The owners won’t classify Le Corte as any one type of cooking, but all types, including in their dishes as many local products as possible, using Seminole Tribes and Florida fisheries.

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The French-American flair shines through in several dishes, such as the Tuna Tartare with large delicate chunks of yellowfin, avocado, toasted sesame and wasabi aioli. Not all tuna tartare is created equal in my book and the handling of this beautiful fish was evident. The flavor of this local-bought fish was brought forth using a touch of sesame oil, dusting of finely grated salt and garlic. and the size is large enough for 2-3 people to enjoy as a table appetizer.

The Pasture Raised Lamb was expertly done, in my opinion. I love the fact that the protein was not overwrought by heavy sauces, spices or marinade. The lamb was simply rolled in persillade (a French mixture of seasonings: parsley, garlic, herbs, parmesan, oil, and vinegar) with dijon, then adorned with a ring made from fried potato strings, demi-glace finish and served with brussel sprouts and string beans.

Running the kitchen at Le Corte is executive Chef Tim Spain, a Florida native whose culinary education included working as an intern for 11 months under chefs in Bordeaux, France and attending the “Masterworks Program” at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, TX. Spain has spent time mastering his art of cooking in Key West, Mackinac Island, MI, and New Orleans, LA, with the privilege of cooking for our country’s 43rd President, George W. Bush. Spain is also a “Level One Master Sommelier” meaning you’ll find some rare gems here to pair with any meal.

He also offers us an Italian style of cooking with Burrata, fresh Italian mozzarella, stracciatella (a cheese produced from Italian buffalo milk,) cream, pesto puree, grape tomato and balsamic with half of fennel bulb for crunch and texture, and Caprese with farm tomato, bufala mozzarella and arugula.

One of the owners, Vincent Palmese, plays a large part in the making and baking of pastries and desserts here at Le Corte. Palmese has been working in the food service industry for over 40 years, owning a bakery in his home town of New York City for 15 years and later operating many successful food service businesses along the east coast of Florida and in Naples. You’ll want a bite of whatever he dishes out!

Try the large sized Cannoli with homemade outer crust and creamy filling topped with whole pistachios and berries. It’s beyond amazing. The Le Corte Cheese Cake is a beautiful rendition of the classic, made from scratch and layered with light, airy white chocolate mousse, then topped with fresh blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. It comes presented with fancy artistic designs all around the plate. Great news; they cater parties, deliver locally and make your cakes and pastries custom to order.

A great place to enjoy and special day, or just grab dinner with a friend. They offer specials like Kebab Tartare, American dry-aged wagyu striploin, capers, stoneground mustard, garlic, truffle oil, fried quail egg and Lobster Baker containing Florida lobster, puff pastry and sherry lobster cream.

Le Corte Garden Bistro is located at 1520 Lafayette Street, Cape Coral, Florida 33904. Call for reservations or stop in for live music. (239) 542-2224. Visit their website at lacortebistro.com.