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Sorella - 95 Allen Street


weinoo
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Last night, not wanting to go too far out of the neighborhood, and after passing by a very crowded Cafe Katja, we continued on to Allen St. and the recently opened Sorella, discussed in the Where to Eat NYC 2009 topic.

The restaurant is divided into two spaces, the front room where small plates are offered, and the rear, where the daily dinner special is offered. You can't order dinner at the front bars, and you can't order small plates in the rear, but let's see how long that lasts. The space has been done up very nicely, with a staved (?) wooden-ceiling, whitewash and bamboo (or is it cork) walls. I'd say the bars seat around 25-30 and I didn't peek into the back, so have no idea about that.

The daily dinner special consists of two courses (last night there was a choice of 3), and for $25 - $30, you get to pick a small plate and 1 of the mains being offered that night. Most of the small plates (and sides) were $12 or under.

The wine list is nicely put together, including at least 30 wines by the glass, which kind of dwarfs the number of selections offered at some of the other Italian wine bars around town. Very northern Italian-centric, the list appears to be well thought out, and there are some reasonably priced wines on it as well. And the thought process seems Italian as well - before we got our first glasses of wine, bread sticks were put down - now, these were not ordinary bread sticks, but delicious, fresh out of the oven, house-made ones. And the basket was refilled 3 times, even though we begged them off.

Despite what another poster said about the sweetbreads, which were good, they did not approach the Momo Noodle Bar sweetbreads on their finest days. However, everything else we tasted showed a deft hand with seasoning, nicely handled ingredients, and a real Italian sensibility. For instance, the carpaccio of beef was a nice plate of excellent meat, topped with a radicchio/parsley salad, olive oil, parmesan cheese and smoked salt, which added just the right kick, A simple plate like this can go wrong so many ways (and often does). But you can tell there was some care - I looked at the cut up radicchio and knew it had been prepared ala minute, as there was no browning evident (which so often happens to greens that are cut ahead of service). Pastas followed, including Tajarin, a pasta from the Langhe in Piedmont, which was served in a lamb ragu with a blob of fresh ricotta on top, pistachios and mint. It was super, as was the agnolotti, tiny and flavor filled. We had one of the sides, brussels sprouts with bacon (well who isn't doing that?) and apple (well, who is?). The dessert we wanted to try was a crostata de miele, but they were subbing a chestnut tart for that one, so we went with the assorted gelati and weren't disappointed by this trio of house-mades.

Overall, we were quite impressed and can't wait to go back. The chef, evidently a USqC alumnus, seems to totally get Italy (and, if it was indeed she who came out to the dining room, she's learned a lot about it in a short period of time, not appearing to be much over 25 or 30). With a wine list that deserves to be delved into, and food this tasty and reasonably priced, Sorella could become a real go-to for us. At the very least it gives us another option in our lower east side Italian hunt.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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mitch, you've described sorella far more eloquently than i could. i'm planning on going back tonight or tomorrow and considering the 2-course (or 3?) menu depending on what the rest of the table wants. will report if i go that route.

@ marc, you're correct. no reservations.

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks to weinoo for reminding me of this thread. I've been to Sorella a few times, most recently last week, and our meal was just unbelievably delicious. Some of menu hasn't changed - like the tajarin and divine brussels sprouts that weinoo mentions - I also loved the gnocchi with cream sauce and brown butter pears, the escarole salad, and the pate de fegato (duck fat english muffin bread, chicken liver mousse, fried egg, bacon). They now take reservations for the charming back room. Sorella has become one of my favorite spots.

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  • 1 month later...

i dined at sorella late night this week and found out that they recently started offering an industry special. on this particular night, we got a meatball sandwich, a beer and a cream soda float for $12, which is a ridiculous deal. i think the special goes from 11-2am, tuesday through friday and all day saturday. can't remember if it's available on sundays. anyway it's a killer sandwich with ciabatta baked in-house. yes, in-house. awesome meatballs as well. just a light, fluffy bite all around. emma says the industry special will change regularly, and the main item won't necessarily be italian.

also a couple of weeks ago, my friends and i got to try the pici in ragu and ricotta. my friend in the industry claims it's the best thing she's had all year. it's certainly the best pici i've had in the city, inching out falai's version. we requested it again on our last visit, and now it comes with an item from the qualcosina section of the menu.

sorella has been getting a love lately and deservingly so. the dishes are consistently solid and the staff is always affable. like daisy17, sorella is one of my favorites, possibly topping my list.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some news from Sorella - it appears that they have started a bit of a "cocktail program." There were 4 kinds of bitters behind the bar, along with Anitca and a few decent spirits. It's fledgling; according to the gentleman making drinks (as well as serving and pouring wine in the bar dining area), they got the full liquor license a mere couple of days ago.

Food was excellent. A pear, prosciutto and arugula salad was expertly dressed and a little crunch was added via pumpkin seeds...a nice touch.

My spring risotto with (guess what - ramps?) and bacon was also properly made and just the right-sized portion at $15.

I took home the "biscotti" for dessert and was rewarded with some excellent treats both last night and this morning - there had to be at least 6 or 8 goodies in there for $6...truffles, cookies, jells, etc.

Less crowded than it should be in the bar last night..though I think they were busy in the back room.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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