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Smiles Abound as Il Sorriso Unveils its Creative Fall Menu

The trend at this and many other fine Italian restaurants is to menus that share old and traditional classic dishes with new break-away cuisine

Il Sorriso in Irvington will unveil a new fall menu in late August that includes several dishes never before served at the restaurant. Some of the dishes to be introduced were revealed to Patch by owner William Winstanley along with other changes currently in the works.

Especially intriguing among the new dishes is grilled wild boar chops (Costoletto di Cinghiale) to be served over escarole. Also among the new entrees debuting is a gnocchi made by mixing potatoes and beets. It replaces Gnocchi alla Yvana (butternut gnocchi) which leaves the menu after a long run at the restaurant. The beet gnocchi will be served in a light cream gorgonzola sauce with walnuts.

New appetizers being introduced include eggplant and spinach with ricotta cheese and Blue Point oysters. The oysters will be accompanied by pancetta, red peppers and onions (a  dish similar to this one can be found at some Italian restaurants but it is usually made with clams rather than oysters).

A number of familiar favorites will remain including two popular main dishes: Fettucuccine Calabesi and deboned Branzino (Mediterranean sea bass). 

Fettucuccine Calabesi is accompanied by sweet Italian sausage and served in a light sauce flavored with oyster mushrooms and basil ($17). The basic ingredient for the sauce is simply a whole lot of cherry tomatoes. This is the only dish on the menu to come with this sauce.

Branzino is available at Italian restaurants from here to everywhere--but at Il Sorriso it is served with apples, raisins and pine nuts in a light and sweet white wine (Pinot Grigio) sauce and accompanied by string beans, carrots, potatoes and zucchini ($24).

Two of the retained entrees have been served at Il Sorriso since Winstanley bought the restaurant five years ago: monkfish with clams and mussels and a dish called Pollo Contadina.  Winstanley was fond of both as a child growing up in Hastings, and then in Chappaqua, whenever his father "Bill" cooked them,which was often. Except for the addition of hot cherry peppers, the ingredients used for Pollo Contadina are the same ones his dad used - chicken, fennel sausage, onions, mushrooms and rosemary.

Fig pizza also returns. This amazing taste treat uses fig jam to provide sweetness; prosciutto to contribute saltiness; onions to provide extra flavor; and goat cheese for richess, added at the last minute, and warmed but not cooked. A very popular pizza served at Il Sorriso is its Marrgherita, made from imported San Marzano tomatoes, basil and fresh-dough mozzerella ($11).

There is a one addition to the pizza menu - a "white pie" combining broccoli rabe with fennel sausage, fresh mozzarella and a touch of garlic.

All of the pizzas come extra crispy and are available in just one size (personal) which is about 10 or 11 inches in diameter; pizza is offered only at dinner time except on weekends when it can be ordered at lunch or dinner. Try one for a main course or share one as a pair of appetizers. Pizzas range in cost from $11 to $15.

The wood-burning pizza oven, imported from Italy, takes up to 90 minutes to heat up but pizza for dinner can be ordered by 5 p.m., if not earlier. It takes only about three minutes to bake a pizza. Il Sorriso has a true wood-burning oven, while many so-called wood-burning ovens are actually fueled or activated by gas.

The desserts are mouthwatering and a number are prepared on the premises from scratch including apple strudel, tiramisu, and a light, sweet ricotta cheese cake made from Grand Marnier liqueur, the juice of two oranges and orange zest (shavings of orange peel).

And just remember: Il Sorriso means "the smile."

Il Sorriso is located at 5 North Buckhout Street, Irvington, New York . It is open for lunch on Tuesday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. It is open for dinner on Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.; and on Friday from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Its weekend hours are: Saturday from noon to 10:30 pm. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. 914-591-2525. www.ilsorriso.com.

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