Restaurant Sorrell in Prospect Heights
re: Steve R
re: jen kalb
I've been to Sorrel a three times. If it was within walking distance I'd be a regular. Very solid food at an attractive price. Since I'm *not* in walking distance, however, my standards are a bit higher. Sorrel, fo better or worse, is a spin off restaurant from 360 and as such it will always be compared to the original. The truth is that 360 does it better. Visit 360 a couple of times and you'll see.
BTW, there has been a nagging amateurishness at Sorrel that I've encountered on 2 of my visits. On one they gave away our reservation and it was clear that the kitchen was having major problems - lots of tables were waiting for food. On another occasion the waiter, a pleasant enough guy, consistently tried to push the higher priced entrees and specials.
Don't get me wrong - Sorrel is a good local choice but 360 remains the gold standard.
re: Bob Martinez
Well, now that Bob M. has weighed in on this, I might as well continue, since he was one of our dining companions on our visit to Sorrell and our last meal at 360 (within a month of each other). I agree with Jen (& Bob) about Sorrell being an excellent local option, given the current situation in Prospect Heights. But the food is not at 360's level &, since he was a chef there, I expected better... especially since he's using the same $25pp format. I'm not totally convinced that Bob's claim of "amateurishness" captures the situation. The hard sell at Sorrell pushes the price way up if you're not careful and I dont think this is anything but "professional" training... unfortunately of the wrong sort. A 2nd bottle of wine was pushed way before the 1st was finished and, if we didnt insist on pouring our own, the waiter would have overpoured each glass to empty the bottle more quickly. It was intentional.
I have nothing against the place and wish it well. My one experience wont get me rushing back but I can see why its neighbors may enjoy its presence.
re: Steve R
Aha. Back in May, we had reservations for 8 people, and it took the manager over an hour to find us a table. Poured a couple of free glasses of wine, but that was it. We were having too much fun to get angry, but I'd never go with a group.
Maybe I need to make the trek to 360? Worth the cab fare?
I have had decent meals at Sorrel and have always been treated respectfully: no pressure to purchase higher priced dishes or more wine. Agree, 360 is better, but, for those of us who live in the Slope, the advantage is that Sorrel is walking distance, while 360 is a 10-15 minute drive.
Just like "famdoc", we have always been treated respectfully at Sorrel and have had no pressure to purchase higher priced dishes or more wine. We have had more than "decent" meals there, some really good ones. Sometimes chef Alexander Tchistov hits it on the head and creates outright delicious plates that are an amazing bargain for the price.
Having said that, Sorrel is not entirely problem free.
The cooking is a bit uneven. One night the same dish can be wonderful, and the next day just OK.
When we first discovered Sorrel, we loved the waiting staff, especially the two very dynamic gentlemen who worked very efficiently, had a great sense of humor, and made everyone feel welcome and even special. We were extremely disappointed when they both left.
After that, the atmosphere in the room just was not the same, and the service has been -depending on who is on duty- very uneven.
The second problem has been the wine list. We are not impressed with (mid priced) "organic" wines. So, while we often enjoyed our food, we did not really love the wine.
Interestingly enough, I tend to get a headache from "organic" wines, but not from most "normal' wines. (the amount of consumption being equal).
Since so many people here compare 360 and Sorrel with each other, I will do that too.
We have not been too impressed with 360.
We have been treated way better at Sorrel, than at 360.
The food at Sorrel is lighter and more elegant than the food at 360.
I guess, if you are a heavy meat eater, and do not mind overly fatty foods, 360 might be the place for you.
Depending on who has been in our group, the service at 360 has been like night and day.
Once we made a reservation for 4 people and arrived on time - but had to wait for 1 hour for our reserved table.
Since we did not want to consume alcohol while waiting for the table (too hungry for that), the waiter refused to answer a wine question, even though he was standing there, at the bar, not hurrying anywhere for a while, just organizing glasses. He made it clear that it was because we were not drinking before seated -even though we made it clear that we would drink wine with the dinner (and it would have made ordering faster, when finally seated).
On the whole, from beginning to the end of dinner, we were made feel unwelcome, like total nobodies, and felt that the staff could not care less if we were there or not. They probably didn't.
We had been respectful and friendly from the start, but obviously that did not count.
The food was not at all as good as hyped. Quite mediocre. Way too heavy with different fats (probably trans-). The most memorable thing from that dinner was the bowl of lard (!yikes!) that was proudly placed on the table, for to dip our bread in.
The second time we visited (to give them a second chance), now in a group of 6, the additional 2 people in our group knew the staff. Now we were treated like kings. The staff, of course, did not remember us 4 (it had been while), but nevertheless, now we were suddenly all worthy of attention and respect -something that should be a given in all restaurants, to all patrons.
We were seated promptly (even though it was a busier hour than during our first visit), we were given attention, treats, recommendations, the whole nine yards...
Very nice, but I had a hard time forgetting how we were treated when visiting without the VIP guests in our group, and how we probably would be still treated without the VIPs.
But even with the "nice treatment", the food at 360 was not good enough for us to travel all the way to Red Hook. There are numerous restaurants in the Slope that are more attractive to us than 360.
I would agree with the previous post. The food at 360 is very good for the price point. However, I have noticed that they can really exude an attitude of we would just as soon not have you here. While I have never felt the full brunt of this treatment (I have at most experienced lukewarm service), I have seen that they treat regulars/locals much better than those they don't know. This is obviously to be expected to some degree, you have to treat your regulars well. However, when you treat people as if they are lucky to be dining there they will not return to become regulars. Also, the guys running the front of the house are not exactly light on their feet, and the service becomes more lackluster with every bottle of wine that gets tasted (I'm sure to make sure the bottle is OK) prior to being served at a table.