For 20 years, La Sorrentina has been in business, serving Italian delicacies to Brooklyn residents in Bay Ridge, a traditionally Irish neighborhood. What better place to turn to for a family feast--especially if you number 20 and are getting together for New Year's Eve? After all, Sorrentina is a family-owned-and-operated business.

Although our large party could overwhelm some restaurants, I noticed how easily the experienced and helpful wait staff handled us. As some of my more elderly relatives gingerly navigated an entrance, the staff was most accommodating and kept clear so they were able to sit down as we positioned ourselves across the long table.

The environment was exactly as you would expect to find in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. The staff was dressed in collared shirts and ties and placed flowers and candles on the table. We sat in one of the three large party rooms. Of course, we were given bread, water and wine before we even sat down. The merlot and white zinfandel was a big hit at my table, at least.

I saw no reason to wander onto the regular menu, when the fixed-price New Year's Eve menu offered all I wanted--appetizer, pasta, main course and dessert.

I have a weakness for hot antipasto, and enjoyed its assortment of my favorites: stuffed mushrooms, baked clams and eggplant rollatini--all made by hand in the kitchen, of course. And the entire antipasto was covered in a fresh, homemade tomato sauce. That said, the large corwd led to my antipasto arriving less than piping hot, unfortunately. And the sauce had not quite settled and so was just a bit acidic for my taste. That said, it was a tasty beginning to an even tastier meal.

After such a traditional opener, I went a bit more modern with penne a la vodka. I was pleasantly surprised that the cook had added just a little more parmesan cheese to the recipe, giving it a touch more robust flavor.

The main courses did jam the kitchen a bit and gave us a break to catch up on family news. However, such is the way when 20 show up at a restaurant. I ordered veal francese as my entree and it was superb. The cut was tender and pounded down to just the right thickness. And the buttery mushroom sauce lived up to my anticipation.

The dessert with the fixed-price menu was tortoni, not homemade, but then, who doesn't like that childhood favorite.

The atmosphere, attentiveness of the staff and the four course meal had my family's New Year's Eve off to an excellent start. I would recommend going to this local neighborhood spot to anyone looking for a well managed and tasty solution to a large family special occasion.


La Sorrentina

6522 11th Avenue

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

(718) 680-9299


Monday through Saturda: 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.