December 24, 2006

A family affair

Elegant new white-tablecloth place atop Queen Anne, Sorrentino, courtesy of a well-established Seattle restaurant family (La Vita è Bella, Mondello, Ballard's new DiVino wine bar). Italian, of course, all-but-forgotten regional dishes little-known here, created and executed by owner and guiding spirit Enza Sorrentino. Couscous with lobstertail, shrimp and generous side dish of fresh marinara from Sardenia, for instance. Risotto with duck, ravioli with cod or crabmeat, a real vitello tonnato; traditional ossobuco in a saffron and orange sauce, unusual polpo (octopus) in a green sauce.

Enza writing menus.JPG Sorrentino ext sign.JPG Couscous w shrimp and lobster.JPG
Mamma Enza does recipe research for Sorrentino's; shellfish couscous awaits tomato sauce

As the menu explains it:

For Sicily, geography has always been destiny. The rocky isle, a land mass the size of Vermont, rises from the Mediterranean like a giant pebble kicked by the toe of Italy. Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans viewed it as a strategic military and cultural outpost.

Ringed by rich waters and covered with dense forests, amazingly fertile hillsides and ancient vineyards, Sicily is both a crucible of original recipes and a melting pot of culinary traditions.

Enza Sorrentino grew up in Palermo, among the small farms, vineyards and fishing villages of the Mediterranean coast. For the past few years, in much-loved neighborhood restaurants like La Vita è Bella and Mondello, Enza and her family have served as culinary ambassadors, bringing the spirit, flavors and hospitality of Sicily to Seattle.

Now, at Sorrentino's Trattoria, Mamma Enza, alongside her son Fabio, expands her repertoire to a range of historic, traditional, antique and forgotten dishes that honor regions across Italy: Friuli, Lombardy, Latium, Campania and Apulia as well as the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.

"There is so much more in Italy and spaghetti, risotto and pizza," is Mamma Enza's motto. It could be the opening salvo in her mission to broaden Seattle's appreciation for Italian cooking.

More than simple generosity, it's abbondanza: a surfeit of good things to eat and drink. For everyday, a lavish buffet. For gala occasions, a cornucopia of antipasti, multiple courses of pasta, endless meat and vegetable platters, and an infinity of desserts. Mangia! they say. And, good guests, you should!

There. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Founding family.JPG Pizza with anchovies.JPG
Family & friends surround Enza before the official opening of Sorrentino.

Sorrentino on Urbanspoon Sorrentino, 2128 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle 206-694-0055

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Posted by Ronald Holden at December 24, 2006 1:28 PM

Had a fabulous meal here last night. I had the Tritecco (sp?) di Carne--grilled lamb, veal, and sausage--and it was incredible. They were also very accomodating for our cantankerous two year-old. We'll be going back soon.

Posted by: db at January 17, 2007 10:00 AM

Jay's right, Cornichon's spellchecker needed a swift rebooting. Fresh marina sauce now magically transformed into Marinara.

Posted by: Ronald at December 26, 2006 1:41 PM

What pray is "fresh marina" ?

Posted by: Jay at December 26, 2006 1:21 PM

Like most Italian/Americans,I am very serious about the quality of the food I eat...especially the Italian food!
Sorrentino's did not disappoint,not only in the quality of the food they served,but in the way they served it.
Once you enter the door,you get that warm feeling that only those who have spent time in Italy can appreciate.
The service is warm and attentive...Italian style!

Posted by: Prof John at December 25, 2006 2:22 PM

On Cornichon's prepublication recommendation, we visited on 12/23/06. Couldn't decide from the tantilizing menu so we asked Marina, our waitress, to "order for us". The shellfish couscous was perfection; the best couscous I've ever had this side of the Atlantic. And, the three meat medley dish is a must try.
Sorrentino has only been open a few days. Better hurry now that the word is out. I predict tables at this lovely restaurant will soon be in short supply. You'll see me there again and again. A very good Negroni available at the cozy bar too. Bravo, Mamma Enza and family. Dr. Joe

Posted by: Dr. Joe at December 25, 2006 11:03 AM