Today’s review is of Sorella, a Lower East Side Italian restaurant. The cuisine is inspired by the Piedmont region of Italy, as is the wait staff’s emphasis on hospitality.
Enter Elana and Mom (John could not be with us on this occasion. He was either golfing or golfing at the time).
We dined at the communal table in the front room, which I highly recommend for its lively atmosphere.
Our meal began with a recommendation on drinks – I wanted something sparkly. And pink. It was a girls’ night after all. I should note that the servers are very knowledgeable about their wine list (all Italian wines). Ours suggested the Gabray Tordera from the Veneto region, which satisfied both my requirements (pink and sparkly). Plus, it was delicious. So much so, that at first opportunity I am going to run out and purchase enough cases to fill my fall-out shelter. If I only had one.
On to the apps: Watermelon Salad and Arugula with Pickled Cherries.
The Watermelon Salad is perfect for summer: light & refreshing with added cashews and cucumbers. And as mom noted, the basil really brought out the flavor.
The Arugula with Pickled Cherries was my choice mostly because I’ve never had a pickled cherry. Imagine that. I would like to have some more. Specifically in this arrangement of bitter arugula, prosciutto, sunflower seeds and shaved Parmesan. A light lemony dressing topped it all off.
Mom and I then split two larger dishes: The Tajarin Pasta and the fried Monkfish.
Tajarin is a thin, ribbon pasta made with egg yolks. It was done perfectly with a lamb ragu, topped with a black pepper ricotta. Pistachios and mint graced the tops of this little mound of pasta like greenery on the hills of Piedmont. …aahhhh…I ate the whole thing. Almost licked the plate, but I held myself back.
The Monkfish was lightly battered and fried with avocados (also fried: yum!) and accompanied by a carrot slaw with an orange dressing.
While we were chowing down (in a very lady-like manner of course and ordering seconds of the Gabray), we overheard one of the servers mention that they serve Baccala, which is essentially salt cod – a very Italian thing. And also a very brave thing to put on a menu. I give them mad props for this, and will have to try it next time I’m there. Which might be tomorrow.
Time for dessert: GELATO. Sorella makes their own gelato and we tried the sampler bowl of three varieties: Chunk Sorella (a salted caramel with chocolate covered pretzels and some other wonderfulness), Giandujotto (hazelnut), and Pazzo (peanut butter – CHUNKY STYLE!). All were amazing and we ended up fighting each other for the last spoonfuls (I won). Incidentally, “pazzo” means “crazy” in Italian.
Every dish at Sorella has a unique taste. Each dish is its own event, and the main ones change daily. As they say on their menu, “stasera abbiamo,” which means, “tonight we have…” A great reason to keep returning for the next wonderful dish they will create.
Also, they have a giant photo of Boston Terriers in their bathroom. That’s pretty cool too.
Overall Movie Equivalent: Heat – The Edgy Near-Masterpiece