Sorella's Ristorante and Pizzeria
4234 East Madison Street
Seattle WA 98112
Italian and Greek Converge on this Madison Corner
By: Grant Y
Tucked into the Northwest corner of Seattle is the charming little neighborhood of Madison Valley. Zooming in even closer to the Northwest corner of Madison however, is a small Italian ristorante and pizzeria by the name of Sorellas. Situated with a modest view of Lake Washington, Sorellas offers many dishes from traditional Italian cuisine such as pizza, pasta, calzones and also some Greek and American classics like sandwiches and gyros. Daily specials are posted by the door, which include items such as Rosemary Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan.
Modest is a very appropriate description for Sorellas, which provides customers with a pleasant, but casual dining environment. Though the restaurant has been around for twelve years, the style is more classic than run-down. Rustic-looking wood paneling runs along the walls while endearing Sinatra covers waft down from the high ceilings. In true Italian fashion, even an espresso bar rests behind the front counter, next to a mix of beers of tap. Though many Italian restaurants don't hesitate to market themselves with a direct dose of white, red and green, Sorellas takes a more subtle approach with maroon colored walls, forest green tabletops and matching furniture.
Part of the atmosphere can also be attributed to the patriarchal, yet friendly owner, who doubled as a waiter. He was an amicable presence in the restaurant, leisurely making the rounds from customer to customer then back to kitchen, ensuring things were running smoothly. When asked, he mentioned that he had been there seven years, indicating that the original owner had likely handed over the reins of the restaurant over some years ago.
I ordered the Sorellas Pizza ($17.95, medium), as it was the namesake dish of the restaurant. It was a medley of ingredients, with pepperoni, spinach, onions, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, feta, and homemade marinara all on a hand thrown crust. The pizza was on the medium to thick side, which I prefer, as my favorite pizzas are Chicago style deep dish.
Biting in, the crust was firm, but not hard or crunchy, giving it enough support for the toppings that it was not a knife and fork job. Sorellos pizza sauce was tasty, with a strong tomato paste that wasn't soupy. On the ingredients side, everything worked well together though the mozzarella was quite cheesy and had a tendency to pull all the ingredients off the pizza if I didn't make a clean bite.
Our appetizer, the Orektiko ($8.95) was an appetizing pizza-like foccacia with olive oil, mozzarella, feta, kalamata olives and herbs. It reminded me of a thin cheese sticks infused with olives a nice little treat.
If you're into HUGE calzones, Sorellas might be able to satisfy your cravings. I ordered the Meat Calzone ($12.95) and it was stuffed with tons of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, marinara sauce, and mozzarella. I could only finished about half of the calzone before I had to call it quits. The Canadian bacon was the best of the meat trio as the pepperoni and salami was a little too greasy for my tastes. There was enough mozzarella to make two pizzas inside, though the quality of the cheese wasn't as great as I would have hoped.
The salad at Sorellas was topnotch. Though served as a side salad, it is anything but a mere side. The Caesar dressing was evenly spread throughout the crisp romaine lettuce and it even had small tender bits of chicken intermixed with the lettuce and croutons. It could count as a small meal by itself and I definitely recommend it for fans of Caesar salad.
This spot was a truly pleasant surprise. I ordered the Chicken Piccata ($13.95) simply because I had never heard of the dish before, and what a treat it was! Combining capers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, lemon butter and white wine sauce over spaghetti and a perfectly grilled chicken breast, the dish offered a really extraordinary combination of flavors. Elements of brininess, citrus and sauteed alcohol came together to form a finely balanced fusion of flavors with a lot of depth. The use of butter was wickedly delicious, although did get heavy after a while.
My starter salad was less impressive than Steve's Caesar salad. The simple combination of grated mozzarella and black olives over lettuce was fine, but I had hoped for higher quality greens than iceberg. In this case, the leaves were nearly flavorless.
The Orektiko used foccacia bread thinner than I'm accustomed to, but I agree with Grant that it was a nice treatbetween the kalamatas and generous sprinkling of oregano, it was a tasty way to begin our meal.
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