Sorrentino’s Spaghetti House is a popular, no-frills local spot with a comfortable atmosphere and a wide range of classic red sauce-based Italian-American favorites.
The front door opens into a short corridor, with a bar to the right and the entrance of the dining room to the left. There are a few tables in the bar, which on weekends and evenings is often packed with fans watching sports on TV. If you sit in the dining room, you won’t miss out on the game, though – two large TVs allow diners to keep an eye on the scores, too. When we sat down, I didn’t know what else we would order, but I knew we had to have a pizza as our table’s centerpiece.
The menu offers the usual appetizers, a soup of the day (cup $2.50, bowl $2.95), salads, pizza, chicken fingers ($7.50 for five), wings ($8.10 for 10), subs of every kind (from a half cheese for $4.25 to a full-sized steak hoagie for $7.95) and specialty sandwiches (from $4.75 for a half-pound burger to $8.95 for a strip steak sandwich).
Pizza starts at $2.15 for a slice with cheese to $14.70 for a 17-inch cheese and pepperoni creation. The usual extra toppings are offered, and a thick-crust Sicilian style pizza is $1 more.
The pasta lunches – spaghetti, rigatoni, spirals or ziti – start at $6.95 for the slightly smaller lunchtime portion (served until 4 p.m.). Dinner entrees go a bit higher but are still reasonable, with most $10 to $11. The most expensive dinner on the menu is the veal parm ($11.95).
We started with what is amusingly called a “small” antipasto. The menu says, “a meal in itself,” and consider yourself warned. They mound a platter with crisp iceberg lettuce, mozzarella and enough cappicola, ham, salami and pepperoni to fill a respectable New York deli sandwich, then garnish it with black and green olives, a handful of green pepperoncini, hot peppers and croutons. The entire thing was easily 5 inches high. We got Italian dressing on the side and used forks to pull segments of the layered bounty onto smaller plates. Everything was fresh and cold, and there was plenty of satisfying meat and cheese. The cappicola was especially good, spicy and lacking fat or gristly bits. It would be a meal for one, even if that one was very hungry.
The spaghetti dinner ($8.50) also was served with a salad, a respectable creation of iceberg, sliced cukes, grated mozzarella and tomatoes. The spaghetti dinner itself was just right. Served on a platter, the pasta was done perfectly and topped with a balanced sauce, neither too sweet nor too acidic. It came with a sub roll toasted, buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder, which served as an edible carrier to clean up any extra sauce on the plate.
The sausage royal ($7.70), made with a spicy flat sausage patty, a layer of that good cappicola, a slice of provolone, lettuce and tomato, was on a fresh, toasted roll. While not the largest royal we have ever seen, it was satisfying and delicious.
The chicken cordon bleu sandwich ($6.75) was made with a grilled chicken breast stuffed with ham and melted mozzarella, topped with lettuce, tomato and mayo. Like the royal sub, the hot part was sizzling and the cold part was still cool and crisp, a sign that nothing lingered in the kitchen before being served.
Finally, we have the pizza. We ordered it Sicilian style (medium for $8.45) and it was a masterpiece. The thick, bubbling crust was yeasty, with a thin layer of crispness surrounding a tender, steaming interior. The first slice pulled from the pie yielded long strings of melted cheese and there was just enough sauce under the cheese to flavor each bite.
Sorrentino’s Spaghetti House
Where: 5640 Main St., Williamsville (633-2150, www.sorrentinosspaghettihouse.com)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday; and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday.