Often I find myself stumped and stymied when I try to write a review of a restaurant that impressed me greatly. I put it off, thinking that some epiphany will hit me about how I can describe the food with such zeal and zest that readers will understand every delicious taste. Such is the case with Sorellina, where I dined a few weeks ago, and haven't been able to put pen to paper about (or rather, finger to keyboard).
But here I am. My co-worker, let's call her Chloe, offered to share the remainder of a gift certificate to Jamie Mammano’s Sorellina with me and our other co-worker, let’s call her Julia. We went over directly after work so arrived at the mostly empty, cavernous restaurant around 5:45 that warm Wednesday evening. Awash in white, the space seemed majestic and pristine. We were greeted warmly and taken to our table.
Before I get to the food, let me just say that the service was outstanding. However, situations like this- where we were pretty much the only ones in the restaurant- make me always wonder if it would be the same on a busy Saturday night? In any case, everyone from the busboy to the waitress was attentive: our water glasses were always filled, and we were treated like VIPs, not young ladies who wandered in in flip-flops and ordered only from the left side of the menu…
Chloe chose the crudo: raw sliced Hamachi, watermelon radish, chioga beets, blood orange, and horseradish oil ($19). It was beautifully presented- it looked like a flower arrangement—and the silky, thin slices of the Hamachi glistened from the horseradish oil and vinaigrette. I could not resist reaching over and grabbing some; luckily Chloe did not seem to mind sharing. It was an explosion of tastes in the mouth, from the crunch of the radish to the soft chioga beets.
Julia’s tuna tartare ($19) was similarly interesting in its presentation, but in a much more over-the-top, slightly-expected way, with tuna tartare on ice. It was tangy and had heat to it thanks to a chili vinegar which added some boldness. (Is it wrong that I really can’t get enough of tuna tartare?)
Finally, I chose the gnocchi with handmade ricotta, braised wild boar, apricots, and pecorino ($18). Holy moly; it’s been awhile since I’ve had a dish that I enjoyed this much. I wished that the plate was like Strega Nona’s famous pasta pot—that it would continue to make pasta until I blew my three kisses. This dish easily topped any of the restaurant week food I ate (Rialto, Harvest) and even the pasta dish from Bin 26. It was sweet and savory, due to the slightly off-the-beaten-path addition of apricot (“Fruit and meat! Good every time!” – my mom, upon my telling her about my fab meal).
With the remainder of the gift certificate we opted for some desserts; we chose the Cioccolato—a trio with a chocolate torte, chocolate crema, and honey gelato ($12) and the spiced doughnuts ($9). I’m not really one who’s into desserts too much, but these were both so insanely delicious and decadent. We decided the honey gelato was our favorite of the trio; it was smooth, sweet, and refreshing. The real winner in my book were the cinnamon and sugar spiced doughnuts though, which when dunked into the sweet and spicy marsala cream sauce, were pretty much what I would imagine they’d serve in heaven.
All in all, I would love to say Sorellina is overrated. I’d love to say they were snooty and the food was pretentious. While all three of these preconceived notions were false, one thing is true: They definitely know what they’re doing over there.