Sorella, Bay View’s newest dining destination, opened last week at 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. And it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the dog days of summer while enjoying a casual Italian-inspired meal.
Open for reservation-only patio dining, Sorella offers a menu of appetizers, salads, pastas, wood-fired pizzas and moderately priced entrees, all of which derive inspiration from Italian and Italian-American staples.
At the bar
Peruse the wine list and you'll find an impressive selection of moderately priced Old World Italian selections (red, white, rose and sparkling) from Tuscany, Puglia and Treviso to Piedmont, along with New World selections from Argentina, California and Washington.
Draft beers are categorized similarly and include classic German quaffs along with new-school craft brews. Cocktails, meanwhile, are fresh and summery with options like a classic negroni, spritz and the Hotel Cristina with house limoncello, vodka, soda, basil and mint.
On the menu
The vegetable-heavy menu is filled with salads and antipasti that take advantage of the season. Solid finds include kale Caesar salad, a tasty take on the classic featuring tender massaged kale, Caesar dressing and a sprinkling of parmesan and crisp crouton bits ($12).
Among the generous bowls of well prepared vegetables is roasted broccoli with apricots, chilies and almonds ($9), a delicious carry-over from Chef Kyle Toner’s time at Wolf Peach; and roasted cauliflower amatriciana, a play on the pasta dish of the same name with cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, pancetta, onion and pecorino romano ($10). The generous portion is enough for a meal or sharing.
There are also seafood options like mussels stuffed with garlic and herbed breadcrumbs ($11); and shrimp scampi with garlic, butter and white wine sauce ($13).
But be sure to save a bit of room for the arancini carbonara, fried rice balls stuffed with a creamy mixture of guanciale, pecorino, egg and black pepper ($10).
Pastas, served in petite, Italian style portions (perfect for enjoying as part of a larger spread) run the gamut from fusilli with "Monday sauce", a ragu of broken meatballs, sausage and pork with ricotta cheese ($14); to vegetable-based options like rigatoni with vodka sauce and spinach ($13) and spaghetti alla nerano, a rich velvety sauced pasta with thinly sliced summer zucchini, provolone and fresh basil ($12).
Wood-fired pizzas, made with the exceptionally light, crisp dough for which Toner has become known, run the gamut in terms of toppings. Options include classic pies like margherita, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and parmesan ($12); earthy mushroom pizza topped with roasted garlic cream, marjoram and dried tomatoes ($14) and more elaborate combinations like the capricciosa with sauce, mozzarella, ham, artichokes, mushrooms and olives ($16).
Pepperoni pizza is topped with mozzarella, pepperoni, poblano peppers and spicy honey ($15), while the Carmelo sports a combination of sausage, broccoli rabe, smoked mozzarella and garlic ($15, pictured).
Entrees, served with a choice of arugula salad or insanely crispy potatoes, include New York strip with salsa verde ($28); a roasted half chicken with lemon, herbs and pecorino ($22), market fish piccata with lemon, capers and parsley ($25) and a New Jersey classic: a grilled pork chop with sweet and picante cherry pepper sauce ($26).
On the sweeter side
Wrap up your meal with a digestif; Sorella offers a nice selection of Italian amari, including Capelletti, Cardamaro and Sfumato ($6-8 a glass), plus housemade limoncello. Pair that up with a cannoli ($3 each) or chocolate migliaccio, a richly textural flourless chocolate and polenta cake served with whipped cream ($8).
Of course, if you’re dining with a small group, don’t sleep on the nutella calzone. This hefty, shareable dessert features a crust of tender pizza dough generously filled with chocolate and hazelnut spread. It’s rich and warm with a perfectly balanced sweetness ($11).
Sorella is open for patio dining Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made online at sorellamke.com or by phone at (414) 301-6255. Carry-out will be available beginning the week following Labor Day.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.