LES Bites: Sorella Auction, Morgenstern’s Ice Cream Debut, Fung Tu Brunch

We’re back from the Memorial Day break with a round-up of restaurant and nightlife news.

Sorella is Closing on Saturday

There are three more days to eat broccoli fritto.

Sorella Has a New Cookbook; Here’s Your First Look

Recently we got a glimpse at the new recipes and at some of the stories behind the kitchen doors at Sorella, one of the Lower East Side’s best restaurants.  Here’s a preview of the new cookbook from co-owners Sarah Krathen and Emma Hearst.  This story first appeared in the September 2013 edition of The Lo-Down‘s print magazine.

Sorella Reopens Saturday; Unrelated, Inspections System Decried

Two weeks of post-holiday renovations are nearly complete at Sorella, and chef Emma Hearst’s cozy Allen Street restaurant will reopen Saturday night.

Manager Brittany Hoed assured us in an email yesterday that the temporary closure that began Jan. 2 was for a kitchen floor upfit, and unrelated to a Dec. 6 inspection in which the restaurant drew 47 violation points — by far its highest score on record in the restaurant’s three years in business.

Restaurant Report Card: December 2011

Teany Cafe on Rivington St. reopened this week after being shuttered by inspectors late last month.

Each month, we post a report of restaurants in the 10002 ZIP code that scored 28 points or more on their health department inspections, the equivalent of “C” grades under the city’s rating system. We also call out establishments that excelled, by earning 3 points or fewer.

For more details on how the city grades food establishments, see the guide (PDF). Because of the way the online search function operates, we cannot link directly to individual restaurant reports here, but you can visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website, type in the name of any restaurant and view the details of inspectors’ findings for all recent visits. You can also read our Restaurant Report Card archives here.

Please note that restaurateurs are permitted to post a “grade pending” certificate while they appeal an unsatisfactory score, so those listed here may not currently display a “C” grade in their storefronts.

This week, the city council launched an initiative to evaluate the 18-month-old grading system, which has drawn plenty of ire from the restaurant and bar industry. Read more about that here.

Here’s the report for December.

Handmade Jewelry Trunk Show Tonight at Sorella

Have you finished all your holiday shopping in local LES stores yet? If not, tonight is a great opportunity to pick up some handmade goods by New York artists. Brooklynite Rashell Crume, who often sports her own jewelry designs behind the bar at Sorella, creates Native-American-inspired “traditional style beadwork with a modern, urban twist.” She’ll be joined by Cloudipi Design’s Claudia De Pace in hosting a trunk show at Sorella, 95 Allen St., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., offering necklaces, earrings, bracelets and watches, as well as accessories like purses and belts.

Check out more of Crume’s work on her Modoc Design Tumblr page.

Sorella Plans New Eatery on “Underdeveloped” Allen St.

There were some interesting morsels in yesterday’s Post profile of Emma Hearst, co-owner and chef of Sorella, the Italian-inspired small plates spot on Allen Street.  First off, plans are in the works for a small “steak driven eatery.” The new spot, scheduled to open next year, will feature beef from the Hearst Cattle Ranch in California (Emma is the great great-granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst).

Food Wire: Hakki Pizza, Sorella, Octavia’s Porch

Coming soon to the corner of Essex and Rivington: Hakki Pizza

There’s lots of food news around the neighborhood this week:

  • On the pizza front: Hakki Pizza has taken over the Visco discount clothing store space at 123 Essex, at the intersection with Rivington; this week, the former corner store is gutted, Hakki’s signs are up over the doorway, and construction work continues apace. New pizza options are springing up all over the LES; Fork in the Road reported last week that Goodfellas Brick Oven Pizza is scheduled to open in about two weeks in the former Kebab House at 144 Orchard. St.
  • Sorella has put together a sumptuous-sounding menu for Easter brunch on Sunday. From noon to 5 p.m., choose an appetizer, entree and dessert for $48 per person. The duck fat English muffin with chicken liver mousse and coconut-cream filled bomboloni with chocolate passion fruit sauce are not to be missed. Know of other Easter specials in local restaurants? Email us here.
  • Time Out magazine is really (really!) unimpressed by Octavia’s Porch, the 2nd Street creation of Top Chef alum Nikki Cascone.
  • Dora, the coffee shop at 221 East Broadway, continues its weekly cuppings (tastings) this Saturday at 2pm. More info on their web site.

Wednesday News Links

New York City school principals receive their budgets from Chancellor Joel Klein's office today, Klein says the schools face cuts of about 5-percent next year, not as deep as he feared. While there will be no major layoffs, he predicted some schools would be forced to lay off teaching assistants and aides.

The number of confirmed swine flu cases in New York has now climbed past the 200 mark. Today, P.S. 130, the Hernando Desoto School on Baxter (near Grand Street), closes.

The New York Comptroller's Office is concerned about the cuts in MTA station agents. On their web site, you can look up how many agents have been eliminated from your stop. For instance, one part time agent was eliminated from both the F train stop at East Broadway and the F/J/M/Z Essex Street stop.

Frank Bruni can't get enough of those crunchy breadsticks at Sorella on Allen Street. He also seemed to enjoy the "duck fat-soaked muffin that’s not only slathered with a thick
chicken-liver mousse but also, in case that’s not heart-stopping action
enough, topped with a soft-yolked fried egg and bacon."

Monday News Links

More than a thousand girls descended on Seward Park High School Sunday in search of the perfect designer prom dress. The dresses were all donated to "Operation Fairy Dust's" 7th annual "Prom Dress Giveaway."  The Daily News has the story.

As the pace of new development accelerates, community activists are trying to protect Chinatown's distinctive character. The Gotham Gazette says there's growing concern that the rezoning of the Lower East Side will make Chinatown even more enticing to developers of luxury apartment buildings and hotels.

Speaking of gentrification, New York Magazine raves about Sorella, the newish wine bar at Delancey and Allen.

The New York Times tells the story of the "slave galleries" tucked into the upper corners of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at Montgomery and Henry Streets. The Rev. Edgar Hopper led the restoration of these rooms. The church will begin conducting tours next month.


An Italian wine bar with an ambitious small plates menu. The dining room feels like a sanctuary from bustling Allen Street, where Sorella is located. Inspired by the Piedmont region of Italy, the menu features items such as pate with duck fat, english muffin bread, a fried egg and bacon.

95 Allen Street, near Delancey


Hours: Tue-Sat, 6pm-2am; Sun, noon-9pm

Web site

Reservations not accepted