As twilight dwindles in the crisp evening air, glowing lampposts illuminate the bricked district of High Street.
Turner Classic putters on, silent to my ear on the small screen behind the bar of Sorriso Osteria & Bar. The jet black walls are lined with Edison-esque bulbs as they drip down from the ceiling as though they were raindrops passing framed patent documents for various inventions.
I wouldn’t call the visceral feeling distinctly Italian; maybe more like that of a below-ground hideaway in NYC the locals use to get away from the noise.
I’m entranced, to say the least…
“Just a water and the Sausage Pesto, please,” I say to the waiter, grinning at the thought of an Italian dish for anything under $25.
The dish is laid in front of me, one long piece of ovular garlic bread sliced diagonally across the center and carefully rested along the brim of the bowl. My eyes widen at the sight.
The combination of sausage, pesto and feta cheese not only dances across the mind as an idea, but dances, too, across my taste buds. The perfect ratio creates the perfect dressing for the rotini, vastly exceeding the already high expectations I set as I walked into the dining room.
Within mere moments, I find myself scraping the ceramic, begging for a speck after a perfectly portioned meal that has vanished all too quickly.
Not many enough of the lovely folk in my life have been pesto lovers akin to myself, but this sauce is not anywhere near overwhelming, the sausage adding an apt fennel-ish note. The only ingredient that escapes my notice throughout my consumption (besides the multicolored aspect of the pasta itself) is the mushrooms, which could have used a moment more on the burner before being tossed in.
But seeing as how I can purchase this perfection for a trifling $13, I nearly need to be dragged out of the establishment after experiencing such pleasure.
Besides the burnt-to-a-crisp garlic bread, my only complaints came from the music of the kitchen blasting through every swing of the door and from overhearing another table’s drink orders; margarita, Bud Light and an Aperol Spritz pronounced as though we were viewing a certain primate exhibit at the zoo…
Nevertheless, despite my self-perceived omniscience, I sought to forget the otherwise trivial moments of shortcomings. And that I did.
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The quasi-Italian-American cuisine was nothing short of stellar, and the experience followed suit. I simply couldn’t get enough of the pesto perfection.
My friends and family will describe me as the most anxious diner, as the person who can’t spend a second more in a place they don’t have to.
Sorriso, however, was not solely worth every penny, but worth every extra second I could immerse myself in before exiting the distant world and returning home.