It was hot all last week in Los Angeles, and on Friday my husband and I were full of trepidation because we were about to spend a short weekend in Phoenix to visit some family, and we knew it could only get hotter. To console ourselves, we decided to treat ourselves to a restaurant we have never been to, Sor Tino.
Sor Tino is a little Italian restaurant near our apartment. Because of our deep love of Pizzicotto, we rarely decide to get our Italian fix elsewhere. Still, it’s always nice to mix things up a bit (and keep this blog fresh!). Sor Tino has a nice little patio that is blocked off well from the street and from the Coffee Bean patio next door. The inside is also a small space, but my husband and I were seated right away.
While looking at the wine list, I was pleasantly surprised to discover they sell half-bottles of wine. I opted for a pinot grigio, and it was a good choice - not too dry, not too sweet. My beer-loving husband got his usual, a Moretti, which is a medium-bodied, amber beer. Things were going well at this point in the meal. Our amicable waitress tried to make us guess which country she was from, and everyone around us seemed to be enjoying their meals. However, after we got our drinks, about twenty minutes passed with no interaction with the amicable waitress. She visited other tables, but never ours. It took a while, but finally I caught her eye - apparently, she forgot that she never took our dinner order!
Oh well, life goes on. As the lights were dimmed in the restaurant, our first course arrived. My husband and I split the Burrata. It was devine - an extremely generous portion of fresh mozzarella served over sliced beef-steak tomatoes with a bundle of basil leaves. Despite the fact that I prefer romas, I found this to be an amazing dish. The mozzarella was the best I have tasted on this side of the Atlantic. It was so creamy, and teamed with the bright-red juiciness of the tomato and the tangy/sweet basil, it was the perfect starter. Actually, it could have been the perfect meal. If only I had stopped at that salad….
Unfortunately, neither of our main courses were up to par. My husband ordered veal with mushrooms and fettuccine. When he ordered it, we both imagined stewed pieces of veal in a creamy mushroom sauce. However, when his plate arrived it basically looked like loose-meat sandwich filling piled on top of some noodles. It was a little on the salty side, and the mushrooms proved to be non-existent in both appearance and flavor. Yet, I still would have traded my dish in for his.
I ordered the halibut ravioli in crab ariabatta sauce. I know, sounds amazing, right? Unfortunately, the sauce was so salty and so fishy, that I found it impossible to taste any of the flavors. Yes, it was spicy, but heat alone was not enough to cover a flavor that can only be described as “sea-water”. The halibut filling was wrapped in a very heavy ravioli wrapper - normally I like my handmade ravioli so thin you can see right through it. I tasted the pasta much more than the filling, but who knows - maybe that was a good thing?
Other than our Burrata, everything on the menu was “fancified”, which I believe goes against the grain for an Italian restaurant. Italian food revolves around bringing out the best of each flavor, not covering it up with salty or heavy sauces. That may work with the light flavors of French food, but rustic Italian fare stands best on it’s own. A bit of olive oil here, a dash of parsley there, some crushed tomatoes here - voila! The perfect meal. Sor Tino just tried way too hard, and in doing so, fell short.
Sor Tino is located at Barrinton and San Vicente at 908 S Barrington Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 442-8466