We had a good dinner at Sorella on Sunday night, and given the quality and portion size, I think it's a very good value on the Lower East Side. We sat in the back room, which felt a little bit like a converted porch or sun room. We chose to order more of the small plates although the entrees (and special entrees -- Hawaiian blue prawns, duck confit, etc.) did look nice.
We had the pate de fegato (duck fat english muffin bread, chicken liver mousse, fried egg, bacon), which was good but I think a little overhyped. A nice fat piece of bread, with a hunk of chicken liver mousse, and sprinklings of bacon on top, with a fried egg, that when broken, oozed all over everything. I liked it but I think the chicken liver toast is better at other places, where it is simpler. Or maybe I was just craving a different texture or something warm. So I thought this was only OK.
My personal favorite was the tempura broccoli which had an amazing texture, and I loved the basil and cream sauce. If you don't think you like this vegetable, think again. I never would have paired basil and a mountain of shaved Grana Padano with deep fried broccoli but this dish was a winner. The pickled hot pepper aioli was on the subtle side, but worked very well, a slowly growing heat but never overwhelming. I think we devoured this in five minutes.
My husband's favorite was the fried and breaded sweetbreads. These tasted like the best faux chicken nuggets ever, fried to perfection, served with a spicy mustard sauce. Hot, crispy, a tiny bit sweet, with a little bit of a kick. I had to slow down as I was eating these terribly fast, and giving myself a little bit of a mustard headache. My husband took advantage of my weakness and finished them off!
We also liked the tajarin pasta -- a nice, meaty ragu, really hearty on a cold night, and I thought the nuts on top were a nice touch. Served with a creamy black pepper ricotta, pistachios, and a little bit of mint. It seemed comparable to what you might find on the menu at dell'anima, one of our other favorites. Maybe a notch down, but just barely.
Dessert was great. The seasonal doughnuts were almond cream bombolini. Four to an order, fluffy and warm tubes of delight. These were basically perfect and I usually don't like filled doughnuts! Served with a thick caramel dipping sauce.
Cute room, and really really reasonable pricing! $57 before tax/tip for two people (3 appetizers, 1 pasta, dessert) which I was not expecting. Service was very sweet, the vibe of the room was cute and casual, and it is extremely well located if you want to go out for a drink after dinner. We'll definitely be back.
95 Allen St, New York, NY 10002