Welcome to Il Sorriso of Irvington. If you know the area, just drive down Main, from Broadway, head toward the river and look for the bright, airy, converted home to the right. The restaurant appears after you’ve passed Irvington’s town hall.
Il Sorriso’s back patio, which overlooks the Hudson from its perch on the hill, is awash in little white lights but not quite ready for dining; so we went in and took the corner table, across from the pizza oven, where we could see the back room, the front bar, and everything between.
The place has a warm vibe, from the golden walls to the roaring fire to the friendly service staff. Even before our water glasses were filled, I was thinking, “Nice!”
Who am I? Jessica Cohn, an undercover restaurant blogger for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. This fact is really pretty funny, if you know me, because I’m the type of person who is embarrassed when taking photos of food. I mean, no one is paying attention. We’ve all seen it all before. But still.
Now, my favorite kind of restaurant doesn’t try too hard to be anything but good. I have biases, as we all do. I like a place where the principals walk around. If not the owners, a hands-on manager is present. The chef may take a walk around to see how things are going. No one acts particularly neurotic. And this is exactly why Il Sorriso is my kind of place.
We went late, but we still saw pizzas being made and made a mental note to return soon to try one. Choosing from the special menu, we went with the fresh mozzarella wrapped with proscuitto di Parma.
Yes, those are red peppers, and wow. They were nice. We paired this hearty offering with the arugula salad. The special menu offered a classic, with Gorgonzola and walnuts.
Do you see the bread spread behind the salad? Addictive. For the main course, there was the gnocchi, made from potatoes and beets.
They were also offering the branzino with dried fruit, from the regular menu. It was chosen, our waiter said, because people like it. And who can argue with that reasoning? You can see why this dish has a fan base. It’s a mix of apples and pine nuts and raisins in a pinot grigio sauce. I could not believe the number of pine nuts. After finishing the roast potatoes to the side, I went with the fresh fruit for dessert. My partner tried the strudel because, well, it just sounded right.
An apology to Il Sorriso for the smear on the right of the plate. My bad for tasting the berry sauce before snapping the photo.
But thank you, Restaurant Week, for leading us to Il Sorriso – “The Smile”- the charming pizzeria and wine bar at 5 North Buckhout Street, right on the corner where Buckhout meets Main.
Here’s looking forward to warm days on that deck!