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Tre Sorelle review

The shrimp marinara is a great opener at

The shrimp marinara is a great opener at Tre Sorelle in Sea Cliff. (Aug. 3, 2013) Credit: Yana Paskova

Tre Sorelle, which, in Italian, means "three sisters," is all about the synergy of co-owner siblings Summer Butindari, Lauren Butindari and Lia Jorquera. Their little strip mall restaurant-pizzeria draws on old family recipes, which are interpreted by chef Pedro Campos. The food is good, simple, homestyle Italian.

Like so many strip mall spots, a pizza parlor occupies the front, a dining room the rear. This one is a bit more tasteful and comfortable than most, done in tones of taupe and silver.

An initial dinner is jump-started by an individual Margherita pizza, ideal for sharing, its crisp clean-tasting crust crowned with a bright meld of tomato sauce and cheese. A big bowl of shrimp marinara features plump shellfish in a lively sauce. It's a far better opener than fried zucchini sticks, which turn out to be thick, waterlogged breaded batons. But baked clams, topped with bread crumbs, possess a winning marine quality.

Clams, both in and out of the shells, are served in profusion atop al dente linguine in a garlicky broth. Spaghetti with garlic and oil is another simple classic done well, as is the lush lasagna. Another plus: tender chicken Francese, egg- battered boneless breasts in a satiny lemon sauce. But bone-in chicken scarpariello, baked with peppers and potatoes, is so overcooked that the dark meat tastes like white. On the other hand, grilled chicken topped with sauteed broccoli rabe and melted mozzarella gets it right on all counts.

Desserts are brought in from an outside source. Best is a chocolate layer cake, its thick, gooey icing embedded with chocolate chips.

One night, service is scattershot; another, it's on point. Currently, the restaurant offers a choice of only two wines: Burgundy or chablis, raising the question: Is this 1973 or 2013? Wine is sold by the half or full carafe, not the glass. You'll do better bringing your own, for a $5 corkage fee. According to Summer Butindari, the restaurant will soon have a proper wine list in place.

Much like a young wine, Tre Sorelle may achieve its full potential as it ages.

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