Friday, May 21, 2010

Sorella Stands Out in the LES

I don't get out to NY as often as I'd like, and I've always got a (long) list of favorite standbys I try my damnedest to get through while there. But on this last visit, I decided to shake things up a bit, and instead squeeze some hot, new restos into the skedge. So many places to try, so little time ...

Anyway, on the new tip, Sorella fit the bill. Opened in early 2009, this Lower East Side Piedmontese wine bar puts out some amazingly delectable small plates in a really sweet space. Pretty much everything we ordered—save for the white bean special which was sadly a bit too salty and mushy to boot—was a homerun.

Following are just a handful of the not-so-small plates we enjoyed that night.

Acciughe al verde — lovely little Ligurian anchovies resting atop a creamy lemon butter and salsa verde, sprinkled with hazelnuts, accompanied by super crispy flatbread.

Delicate little gnocchi dressed in a rich Castelrosso (cow's milk) cream sauce, spiked with a dice of brown butter pears and garnished generously with chives. We liked this dish so much, we got two.

Pork rillettes — a really nice braised pork (braised in fat, that is) emulsified to a super luscious texture, accompanied by a dice of mango and some nice crispy bruschetta.

Paté de fegato — chef Emma Hearst's (yes, of the mega-millionaire Hearsts) signature dish comprising a duck fat English muffin bread with a veritable brick of artery-clogging, creamy chicken liver mousse sitting on top, along with a fried egg and huge wedges of candied bacon.

Tajarin — freshly made egg pasta tagliolini with heaping portions of lamb ragu, black pepper ricotta, Parmesan, pistachios and mint.

Grilled quail with a vincotto glaze (vincotto being a dark, sweet, dense grape), plopped on top of 'fried' riso venere (aka short grain, black rice), watercress and orange salad.

I gotta say, of the half a dozen or so new eateries that I added to cart this year, Sorella tops my NY newcomer list.

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