Our table at Sorell.

Our table at Sorell.

To celebrate New Rochelle’s Restaurant Week, Catie and I joined our good friends Caroline and Todd Kern and Catie’s sister Julie for a night out at Sorell Wine Bar & Bistro, which fills a surprisingly warm and intimate space on Huguenot Street within the former Avalon (now Halstead) apartment building.

Instead of ordering off the menu, we asked the chef to send out selections of his choosing – and we weren’t disappointed.  Olives to get things started, then cavatelli with clams, a composition of calamari and raw vegetables, kale caesar salad, chicken with brussel sprouts and fingerling potatoes, and two desserts of poached pear and molten chocolate cake.  A wonderful range, but all sharing a light, clean quality that celebrated the freshness of the ingredients.  The wines were from next door at AOC, which divided its space to create Sorell.

The chicken deserves special mention.  Straight to our table from a farm about 2 hours north of here and cooked to moist, crispy, salty perfection.  I was reminded of the description of the happy (and tasty) chickens at a sustainable farm in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Sorell’s chef, Chris Daly, has a pretty remarkable pedigree, having worked with Thomas Keller of Per Se and French Laundry fame.  Watching him produce such beautiful compositions behind a simple counter with little separation from the dining area was part of the fun of our evening.

Alas, I was too busy savoring things to remember to take any photos of the food itself, but trust me, each dish would be right at home on the cover of a cook book.