This time, your ol’ buddy Tony took a trip back to Sorrentino’s Little Italy, just because it has been so long since we talked about of one of the ‘hood’s finer Italian eateries.
I gotta say that Sorrentino’s is a landmark here, just like the Italian Centre Shop. I remember the old Sorrento in Castledowns and have been to probably every one of Carmelo’s and Stella’s shops at one time or another. What makes this particular location so special (apart from it being within walking distance at 10844-95th Street) is the atmosphere. It is so reminiscent of a typical ristorante in bella Italia: the tile floor and dark wood, the open fireplace, and the simple table settings.
Much of what Sorrentino’s has to offer is based on regional and familiar interpretations of specialities from where the owners come from. Quick geography lesson: Sorrento is in the Campania region of Italy along the coast south of Naples. Sorrentino means “little” or “tiny” Sorrento. So, it makes sense that dishes represent that part of the country, and a little from Calabria to the south where a lot of our neighbours are from. This is a region famous for its hospitality.
The missus and I settle in, grab some bread, and start to read the menu: lots of antipasti (first course), with a mix of seafood, a little funghi (mushroom), bruschetta, and, Tony’s favourite Sicilian street food, Arancini – balls of tender Arborio rice stuffed with cheese, fried, and served wit a tomato sauce. These little “Oranges” are a great starter and worth sharing.
We skipped the Insalata ‘cause Tones ate some veggies already that day. But if I was to grab something it would be the Bocconcino – little mozzarella balls with basilico fresco, pomodoro, olio extravergine d’oliva. And, always nice in the fall – a tasty bowl of Ministrone.
Now, a pasta course (primi piatto). So much to choose from. Missus Tony grabs the Penne Arrabiata with spicy sausage, sugo di pomodoro, and perfectly al dente Penne. And your ol’ buddy Tony? He goes for a secondo piatto (second plate or Main), a dish more familiar to those fancy northern folk from Milano, the beloved Osso Buco. Tender veal shank braised in white wine, veggies, and tomato served over creamy garlic risotto. Bone with Hole is extra special for the jelly-like marrow you can spread on a slice of bread.
Dinner with a decent tip for excellent service and a wee bit of wine was about $80. Remember, you can get smaller plates on most pastas, and there’s a special now where you can bring your own vino and don’t have to pay for them to open it (corkage).
So, if ya just want a quick bite, it’s pretty simple to pull up a chair and dig in, or you can call a few friends and make a night of it.
Tony lives in McCauley.