Optimistically Cautious

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Poor Planning and Bad Timing: Sorrentino's

I have mentioned Dine Alberta a few times this month, it being a September program that promotes the use of local ingredients at select restaurants across the province. I finally got around to arranging for dinner at Sorrentino's, a much-loved local Italian chain that seems to be something of an institution in Edmonton (beyond Sorrentino's proper, the purveyors also maintain That's Aroma!, Oliveto Trattoria, Caffe Sorrentino, a sports bar, and a pub). I poked around the website and was looking forward to trying something off of their featured Mushroom Harvest menu - specifically, the porcini mushroom risotto.

With Dickson at the wheel (though that phrase is a bit redundant...), we headed for the downtown location. Count me embarrassed when we were confronted with a closed sign. Vowing better research before future outings, we checked to make sure the southside location was open before driving there.

Arriving around 8:30pm, we were given the "S-Bar" menu, a condensed selection of dishes meant for late diners. I inquired about the Mushroom Harvest menu, but to my disappointment, was told that it wasn't offered on Sundays. The website failed me - nowhere on their otherwise comprehensive webpage was it written that the specials were only served Monday to Saturday. So not only were we deprived of sampling the regular fare (of which a chef's daily risotto is a part of), but I also wasn't able to get my Dine Alberta fix.

That said, the after-9 menu isn't bad; there were quite a few comfort dishes that were tempting. I settled on a margherita pizza, while Dickson opted for Mamma's lasagna. The food arrived after a bit of a wait (the main dining room had been fully booked for a private function), though Dickson would have been appeased had they simply brought more baskets of their salted baguette. The pizza wasn't great, and tasted very much like the fare I had at Three Bananas Cafe, and easily loses up against the phenomenal slices at Leva. Dickson's pasta was quite good, but he was left wanting more because of the small portion.

When the bill was presented, we were surprised to see we had been charged full price. Checking the time our plates were entered, we realized that had we waited twenty minutes to order, we could have saved $6. Sure, that isn't a lot of cash, but after the mushroom menu mix-up, it was another instance of our bad timing that night.

I'll have to return to Sorrentino's for a full, triple fact-checked dinner to see if it really can live up to the hype.

Margherita pizza

Mamma's Lasagna

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