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Nov 1, 2007 08:12 PM

Sorrel: Any recent visitors?

It's been six months or more. Thinking of having dinner there this weekend. Appreciate any feedback from recent visitors. Prix fixe still $25?

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  1. horrible. ate there a month ago. 20 buck hamburgers with no bun and no potatoes. gross "fish" just a horrible experience. burgers tasted charred. would never go back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shen

      we go periodically on weeknights and have always have carefully cooked tasty food. Its a nice place to sit and relax over a bottle of wine and the prix fixe is a good deal - Contrary to your experience, we've liked their fish. Sorrel's hangar steak is a better idea than the french style "burger" but both have been fine in my experience.Never had stale bread - usually freshly baked. Must have been a seriously off night for your visit.

    2. My co-worker, sitting beside me right now, goes there almost on a weekly basis.
      He says he went there last week for brunch and it was excellent like always.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Brooklyn Mamacita

        4 people. 4 terrible meals. hamburgers NO buns. greasy wilted greens and some mess of polenta. stale bread on table. burger tasted like meatloaf. 2 fish orders. over fishy. bad smell as well as taste. steamed vegetables were the same greasy greens that burgers had. crispy scoop of white rice. FILTHY bathroom too. and 4th person had a steak. i won't go there. low grade. bad chewy texture.

        1. re: shen

          Shen...I don't do burgers, but I wonder whether, given your horrible experience, you said anything to your server. A recent thread about Al di La featured one commenter who found his fish "smelly." He later commented that his taste might have been affected by having had too much to drink (thereby causing his entry to be redacted by the Chowhound authorities), but myself and a few other respondents thought that diners should not hesitate to speak up if, at a quality joint, they are served "off" food.

          Bklyn Mamacita: I'm not a brunch person. Basically wanted to know about dinner.
          Anyway, I'm going to find out for myself tonight. Several prior experiences were all positive, but the last more than six months ago. Since 360 closed, this may be the only chance to have a similar meal: low-cost prix-fixe and well-selected, small vineyard, biodynamic wines.

          1. re: famdoc

            I used to live around the corner from there, and wanted to love it, but the food always seemed off to me,, slightly old fish, tough overcooked lamb..great winelist thou..

            1. re: jason carey

              Decent dinner this evening. Snails with spetzele, trout, crepe with farmer's cheese. Wonderful bordeaux-blend from Carcassonne. $25 is still the prix-fixe.

      2. I was there last night. While I didn't love everything, it was all prepared with care and the restaurant is a lovely place and a real bargain. Unfortunately, it isnt doing well. I suspect thats because the menu is very limited and there are lots of picky people out there who can't find anything on it that satisfies their low carb/lactose intolerant/vegetarian/wheat free whim of the week. But a larger menu means more wasted food, less fresh, and higher prices. We get what we deserve.

        10 Replies
        1. re: dan1970

          dan...I got the same sense on Friday night: just not enough tables filled. Alexander, the co-owner was warm and hospitable. Offered us a taste of a new wine. Brought us in to see the kitchen. But, I think it's a location issue. If he were on Fifth Ave. or on Vanderbilt, he might be doing better. Rents would also be higher, so a $25 prix-fixe would be impossible.

          1. re: dan1970

            I also suspect it suffers from being on a quiet residential corner without a lot of foot traffic. I wish they would change their menu a bit more - we would go more often if they did. I really love having them as a neighbor and wish they would get more regular community support.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I agree. We used to dine at Sorrel often, but after a while we got tired with the menu that did not change often enough. We felt bad abandoning the place, since (before we got bored) we did like the place, a lot. And we loved the location... different, cozy, but admittedly, hard to find, if you do not know where to look.

              Another problem (for us) was the wine list. We just could not find a wine on the list that would have made us truly happy. (No "wow"-effect). Yes, there were "nice" wines on it, but I want more than just "nice" on a Saturday evening. Maybe the list is more intriguing now...

              I have also discovered that way too many "organic" wines give me a headache the next day, when non-organic wines do not.

              Anyway, we have decided to re-test Sorrel, soon-ish.

              Sorrel could do a better job at marketing, to get more customers. I might be wrong, but I do not think they even have a web site...

              1. re: FoodWine

                I think you will be very pleased with the current wine selection. In particular, I would recommend the red wine, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and some other grape, from the Languedoc, near Carcassone. It really reminded me of a Bordeaux, a nice blend with a good balance of fruit and tannins. $8 a glass.

                I don't think Alexander's priority is marketing. Visit soon...y'never know.

              2. re: jen kalb

                It's not only the location. We go all over and were pretty regularly at 360 when he was there and afterwards. Our 3 meals at Sorrel were disappointing. The food was a notch or two below 360 (however, we would have come back for this level at this price point) but the service and general organizational skills of the place were just pitiful. Our friends (they can speak for themselves on this board if they wish) had similar "lost reservation" and wait time issues and we were upsold mercilessly by waiters on 2 of the 3 visits, who not only tried to bring much more expensive wine by "mistake", but insisted on repeatedly trying to pour more into already appropriately filled glasses in order to try to sell another bottle during the dinner. One one visit, the entrees came out long after the previous course was finished and I really believe it was to give it more time to sell another bottle (remember, the wine markup is almost equivalent to the profit margin on a table for 2 with these prices). We're not picky customers and I would have gladly just forked over $35pp instead of $25 for the meal if that would have relaxed them (and therefore relaxed us). And the increased competition in Bklyn, including fixed price competition (ie Tempo, Chestnut, Saul's...) during the week probably doesnt help them any.

                If you all think we've just had a ridiculous amount of bad luck there, I guess I'd try it again. But, there's just something a little off-putting about it that makes us pass it by. Oh well.

                1. re: Steve R

                  weve never had upselling, reservation or service problems - we are typically walkins. I do think they need more wines on their list and better info on the part of the waitstaff about them. having never been to 360 we are not affected by comparisons with that.

                  I do find the tendency of waiters to refill glasses prematurely annoying, whenever it happens - but since my husband typically finishes my wine anyway, it doesnt hurt us!

                  1. re: Steve R

                    Wow, that sounds baaad. Sorry to hear that!
                    You actually reminded me of another thing that made us even more "bored" with the place: The service.

                    When we discovered Sorrel the service was great; friendly, really efficient, fun, even humorous. No forceful selling, ever. We especially love this one waiter...(I do not know how to spell his name, so I won't attempt it) and he had a partner that was also great.

                    After these guys left (or were fired for a silly reason, at least so I heard?) the service was never the same. Soon we noticed that it just was not fun anymore. Especially one young guy, who was odd (arrogant?), and even smelled bad often, we just could not deal with. So we left and have not been back for over a year.

                    But I am curious, and since I am so bored with the restaurant selections in the area right now (alas, we have been cooking a lot more lately during weekends -or gone to Manhattan), we will give Sorrel another try.

                    I liked Sorrel much more than 360, which we pretty much hated: the service at 360 was really rude and the food was so-so. (I wrote about both Sorrel and 360 at length here:


                    360 is out of business now, right? I guess for a reason...?

                    About forceful wine pouring/selling, I have said this several times before, sorry for sounding like a broken record, but it is so simple to prevent that:
                    The only place where we let the staff (maybe) fill our glasses, are high-end restaurants. And even there we watch them like "hawks" and make a gesture with the hand to get exactly as much wine as we want in the glass.
                    In neighborhood joints, the waiters do not even have time to grab the bottle or carafe before our hands are over the glass, and we tell them (with a smile) that we like to pour our own wine, thank you.

                    1. re: FoodWine

                      pleasant young women serving at Sorrel our last two visits. your smelly server is long gone

                        1. re: FoodWine

                          yeah...I'd like to chime in to say, we go regularly and really love it there. One plus (for us, but may be an issue for others) is that the portions aren't overwhelming which would relegate it to "special occasion" once every six months status. We go regularly and leave satified not stuffed.

                          Alexander is always helpful and attentive.

                          It doesn't have the slick feel of the bigger places in brooklyn, but I like the fact that there still can be neighborhood places that are a labor of love for a single person as opposed to a conglomerate managing multiple themed places (think Patois/Trout/Pacifica/Schnak).

                          I hope they can hang in there and make it work...