Year after year, we would strategically choose hotel restaurants to celebrate my mom's birthday. Reason being, they are generally comfortable and predictable. Secondly and most importantly, more often than not, there will be a children's menu. However, with the kids rapidly growing up, we find that the kid's menu just doesn't cut it. Case-in-point, when we were at Boulevard in the Sutton Place Hotel, my daughter chucked the kid's menu aside claiming it was "boring" and proceeded to order the $35.00 Arctic Char! So for my mom's bday this year, we chose Sorella located in the former Pied-a-Terre.
We kicked things off with a few appies including the Fried Calamari and Seared Beef Carpaccio. Sitting on a bed of spicy lemon aioli and sprinkled with gremolata, the calamari was full-flavoured and indeed spicy. In addition to the aioli, the actual batter was well-seasoned and spiced as well. Texture-wise, the calamari was aggressively crunchy that somewhat obscured the actual squid chewiness. Unlike some thinner versions, the beef carpaccio actually had a meaty chew which gave way to a tender finish. It wasn't buttery per se, but it was still soft and appealing. I felt the flavours were a bit muted where the capers were only able to provide a minimal amount of saltiness and tang.
Our last appie was the Mixed Antipasti Plate for 2. It consisted of capicollo, grilled aspargus, red pepper and zucchini, olives, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and shrimp. Evenly charred and not overdone, the veggies were smoky and sweet while retaining some texture. Strangely, the cheese was pretty average as it was rather lifeless and too firm. The best part of the plate was the bruschetta topped with the accompanying roasted peppers. It was sweet, tangy and truly appetizing.
For the kiddies, they weren't shy with what they wanted to eat. My son decided on the Fettuccine with Braised Shortribs and gremolata to no one's surprise as shortribs has become his go-to food. This was a substantial portion where there was more shortrib than pasta (the picture doesn't do it justice). Buttery, garlicky and al dente, the fettuccine was nicely accented by the richly-flavoured tender pulled shortrib. In addition to the natural meat flavours, there was a light tang from the stewed tomatoes. My daughter had the Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon, egg and Parm. The firmly al dente pasta was lightly flavoured by the thick nuggets of chewy bacon and parmesan. I personally could've used more saltiness, but it wasn't bland either. The fact they didn't use any cream was a blessing as the pasta wasn't a goopy mess.
For myself, I went for the Osso Buco Milanese with saffron risotto and green beans. This was another generous portion which included 2 pieces of veal shank. The meat varied from fairly tender to somewhat chewy. I found the tomato sauce to be lightly tangy with the background finish of marsala. As much as the risotto was not as chewy as I would've liked, it was still decent with a creamy texture while being mildly seasoned. Viv decided on the Chicken Scarpariello with fennel sausage, sweet and hot peppers, white wine and herbs. This included 3 pieces of chicken breast smothered in a zesty and tangy sauce that was full-flavoured. Although not dry, the chicken was not particularly succulent.
My mom went for her go-to dish being the Grilled Ribeye Steak with onion rings, arugula and herb butter. This was prepared a perfect medium-rare. As such, it was juicy and succulent. The herb butter was well-seasoned enough to flavour the entire steak. With slightly thick batter, the onion rings weren't as crunchy as we would've liked. My dad opted for the Ling Cod with prawns and mash potato in a red wine emulsion. Despite featuring a crispy skin and being fairly flaky, the ling cod was underseasoned and not buttery. Sure, the sauce made up for this, but a bit more salt would've been better.
Originally, we intended in sharing 2 desserts, but Princess, er... my daughter wanted one all to herself. She was eyeing the Chocolate Budino with raspberry sauce. Yes, she definitely finished it, but not before I took a sample. It was rich and really thick while moderately sweet. The tangy raspberry sauce was the perfect compliment. As for my son, he wanted the Zeppole with caramel sauce and whipped cream. These were fluffy and eggy with a lightly crisp exterior. We really loved the caramel sauce as it was not too sweet while being smoky. He dusted these off easily as they were not heavy at all.
Lastly, the adults were left with the Tiramisu for 2. This was a serviceable version where the marscapone cream was lightly sweet and velvety. The lady fingers were well-soaked being a bit wet at the very bottom. There was a purposeful amount of liquor and espresso which was balanced off by a moderate amount of sugar. The dessert was neither too sweet nor too bitter from the espresso. Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Sorella, in particular, the pastas and the appies. As for the mains, they were average in terms of protein execution and flavour.
- Generous portions
- Generally solid eats
- Attentive service
- Some dishes could've used more salt
- Not particularly spacious