Friday, July 24, 2009

Boston: Sorellina

At long last I was dragging Michael to Boston, a new place for him and a return to old and happy haunts for me. While we were joining friends on Saturday night, we were on our own for Friday. Where to go? After much research and visits to local Boston blogs and boards, I settled on Sorellina near the Hancock building.

It turned out to be an excellent choice. The restaurant was not full when we arrived a little early for our 7:30 reservation, but soon all the seats were taken. It is a large room, well broken up, expensively decorated, and with an excellent lighting level. Too often places are either so bright as to ruin any sort of relaxing or romantic mood, or so dark that you're fumbling with a flashlight to see your food, never mind read the menu.

The meal did get off to a slightly rocky start. We ordered gimlets as an appetizer, celebrating, if that's the right word, Michael's abrupt disassociation with his employer of five years. The server -- extremely knowledgeable and professional -- asked us if we wanted fresh lime juice or Rose's in the gimlet. Nice of her to ask. Naturally we chose fresh. However, when the gimlets came they were exceptionally...tart. I didn't mind that much but Michael felt it was undrinkable (and for him, that's saying something!). Fortunately the server noticed our distress and quickly brought us new drinks, cheerfully and without hesitation, for which we were very grateful. Frankly, the new ones were not up to the level of Blacksalt, which is kind of our gold standard for gimlets, but we did manage to finish them (big surprise) and move on to a nice bottle of Mark Kreydenweiss Pinot Gris.

Dinner was terrific. Sorellina is certainly Italian themed in the best sense of simple and delicious cooking, not overly fussy. At our server's recommendation, I started with the grilled octopus while Michael had the "verdure" -- a salad of spinach, artichokes, and pancetta. The salad was excellent and the octopus, with a bed of squid ink couscous, sublime...Michael had 2 bites which given his inner ambivalence about octopus, really is saying something.

We then had half pasta portions...fettucine with wild mushrooms for me, red beet ravioli for him. Both were sublime. I was a little startled at my first taste of the ravioli, having misread the menu in the dark as "red beef ravioli". Gotta start carrying those reading glasses.

For main courses Michael had roasted chicken and I had the double pork chop. Both were good, but the chicken was better, the pork being just a bit too plain for my taste. And maybe just a tad was pink as requested, but not quite as juicy as I might have wished.

Nonetheless, it was a lovely dinner and a memorable evening. Not cheap..somewhat over $200 before tip...but certainly a very happy choice.

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