Tue-Thu, 6pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 6pm-2am; Sun, 5:30pm-midnight; Mon, closed
B, D at Grand St.; F, J, M, Z at Delancey St.-Essex St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
It’s true, this town is flooded with “wine bars” serving “small plates,” but Sorella is different. You might notice this the moment you enter the preternaturally civilized space and take a stool at the bar opposite a wine-washed balsa-wood wall inlaid with photos of Piedmont, or a softly upholstered seat in the glass-ceilinged annex in the back, beneath glittering lighting fixtures. Or perhaps when the fresh-baked grissini arrive, tucked into a paper cone and presented like jewels on a thick linen napkin. There is an air of luxury about the place, but it’s a reasonably affordable luxury, conveyed through the inherent richness of the food and celebration of the region that inspired it.
Piedmont is known for, among other things, truffles, rich egg pastas and serious risotto, gianduja desserts, and some of the best wine in Italy. Owners Emma Hearst and Sarah Krathen translate that culinary aesthetic into an appealing and accessible menu and a multiregional wine list that devotes a section to Dolcetto, a softly floral, high-acid wine that’s food-friendly and affordable, especially in comparison with the region’s blockbuster Barolos and Barbarescos. On the wine aspect of the wine bar, the staff is well versed, and the suggested pairings well chosen, though the reds could be served a bit cooler.The menu itself refrains from traditional conventions of small and large, appetizer and entrée, by using the much more lyrical (and somewhat confusing) Italian. Qualcosina, or “A Little Something,” defines nine not-so-small small plates, priced $10 to $20, while stasera abbiamo, or “Tonight We Have,” refers to a weekly changing trio of so-called entrées (a meat, a fish, and a pasta), a two-course prix fixe of sorts that includes the choice of one qualcosina. To simplify matters, just remember that everything is roughly the same size, artfully plated and very big on texture, often in the form of toasted nuts or fried pork. The grilled quail is undeniably delicious, a moist specimen splayed over a bed of fried potatoes infused with tangerine juice, intermingled with Taggiasca olives, and splattered with beet butter. Note
The prix fixe is available only Tue.–Sat., 6 p.m.–10 p.m.Ideal Meal
Anchovies, grilled quail, orange génoise.