My dinner companion, J (accredited member of the Biffles Dinner Claque), protested when I said I was going to mention Sor Tino on the blog. "Don't tell them," she said.
But I found it hard to believe that a trattoria on Barrington just south of San Vicente hadn't been noticed, and I was right. Sister Sarah of The Delicious Life has of course already been there, so I was following in her footsteps. And a place that's related to Toscana and Ago can hardly be a secret, right?
In any case, Sor Tino's menu, sort-of-Florentine, is not astonishing, but the food is prepared with care and attention that does make it seem more Italian (the attention to detail, I mean). My handmade garganelli (like penne) were light-years away from pasta asciutta, that is, machine-made pasta: they were thin, delicate, and could convert me to buying a pasta machine. They were sauced with fresh peas, radicchio, and speck (a smoked meat. Biffles loves the products of the pig). I was telling a friend about this heavenly pasta and she said, must have been cream in the sauce, but oh, no! There was not. Yet it held together and was persuasively tasty.
So good that I didn't try J's arugula pizza. Looked great--she has tried most of the pizzas and has become an enthusiast. For starters, we split a salad that involved greens, yellow and red beets, and gorgonzola, a felicitous combo.
My principal complaint is that the waiter brought all our dishes at once; we'd explained that we'd share the salad, and then each have the pasta or pizza, as it were. But he didn't understand, and everything came out, whammo! at once.
Based on one visit--not as if I sampled the entire menu; it was still too hot outside to think about eating a proper entree--I'd say Sor Tino was good if one is in an Italian eating mode, or just wanting to be in Italy (many of the other diners were Italian). Prices are moderate enough, given the location and the presence of many more expensive Italian restaurants within walking distance. But give the waiter explicit instructions. When I go back, I just may draw him a chart.
Verdict: Won't change your life, but will make for several pleasant hours. I'll go back.