When AOC Fine Wines split last year to form Sorell Wine Bar Bistro, we lucked into Chef Christopher Daly, who’s worked at Bouley with Thomas Keller of Per Se and The French Laundry. Here, he plies his trade in a tiny open kitchen at an intimate spot with bluesy music and a sunset view, across from a picturesque church (and a parking garage). Bring your dinner receipt to the wine store within 48 hours for a 15-percent discount.
You might well do that, for the wines can be startlingly delicious. The chalkboard list omits details, though, grouping choices only into Classics, Surprises, and Treats. If you’re curious about the provenance of your Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll have to ask.
Sorell’s rosemary-Parmesan risotto cake and marinated olives with toasted spices and garlic
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Unlike many wine bars, Sorell offers a meal with first and main plates, featuring local ingredients. House-cured olives (we loved the plump red Italian ones) are a delight, with cumin and coriander, toasted fennel seeds, chili flakes, garlic, rosemary, and sprigs of thyme. Don’t miss a starter of rosemary-Parmesan risotto cake with wild-mushroom ragout, whose crispy exterior barely restrains the creamy risotto. It, too, is garnished with thyme. Upstate Farms kale salad with garlic-anchovy dressing and sourdough croutons is another winner. (Did you think you were done with kale?)
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson had raved about the Snowdance Farm chicken on his food blog—yes, he has one! It was the best chicken I’ve had lately, with remarkably light flavor and crispy, herb-seasoned skin, served with tri-color baby potatoes, garlic kale, an unpeeled clove of roasted garlic—and thyme. A five-napkin tuna bagna cauda panini was everything you could want from the dish, piled with roasted red peppers, sliced red onion, chopped celery and shallots, hard-boiled eggs, greens, and capers, with cornichons and olives on the side.
Desserts can be hit or miss. Rice pudding was underdone, but we enjoyed poached pear with chocolate sauce and pistachio, and molten chocolate cake (these ubiquitous cakes seem to be getting more molten by the minute, as if to outdo each other in moltenness).
282 Huguenot St, New Rochelle (914) 341-1579