Y Pop-Up is “Yale’s first and only on campus, all student-run, pop-up restaurant group,” featuring a new restaurant project every semester. When we heard that 1. Y Pop-Up was where Junzi Kitchen got its start *heart eyes* and 2. You can bring your own wine to dinner, we knew Spoon had to try out this semester’s project, Sotto, for ourselves.
Sotto, hosted in the JE art gallery, is open Fridays from 6 pm – 9 pm, with reservations open to the public Mondays at 9pm. You better be sitting at your computer right at 9 pm because tables fill up QUICK (like, within-the-hour quick).
But trust us– Sotto’s popularity is entirely justified. For just $15 – 20 a person, you get a four-course meal, great service and an experience worthy of Gramercy Tavern in New York – which coincidentally is where Head Chef Michael Park worked last summer (casual, right?).
Luckily, Spoon was able to score a table last week, so you can live vicariously through us until you are fortunate enough to eat at Sotto, too.
As soon as we sat down, we were brought menus, water and an ice bucket for our rosé. Frankly, I was sold the second they showed me they cared about the temperature of my alcohol. They could have brought me McDonalds served on an old sock after that and I would have still left impressed. (But they didn’t, don’t worry.)
Course I: Spring Soup
The first course was a sweet corn gazpacho soup with burnt rye, caramelized carrot puree and basil. It had great flavor with a strong acidity, which was cut nicely by the delicious fancy breadstick served atop.
Non-food-related side note: at this point, I also noticed a photographer scoping out the restaurant while I ate my soup, which made me feel like a cool celebrity dining with other cool celebrities (a huge perk, obviously).
Course II: Lil’ Eggy
First, let me give you some background. I genuinely love kale, I don’t eat red meat and fried food makes me think of clogged arteries and sadness. Now, let me present you with a scotch quail egg: a hardboiled quail egg coated in ground sausage and deep-fried.
I devoured the whole thing, then finished my date’s (sorry).
Course III: King’s Cow
Having fully given in to red meat after the scotch egg, I readied myself for the third course: strip steak cooked medium-rare with allium soubise and charred savoy cabbage. The steak was perfectly cooked and seasoned with rosemary. I really didn’t care about the welfare of cows at this point, and the charred cabbage made me forget entirely about kale.
Food-related side note: my date tried to ask for more soubise to take home because she loved it so much. I told her she was embarrassing me.
Course IV: Banana Tart
The final, most important course was dessert: a pastry tart topped with caramelized banana jam and chocolate black bean ganache, paired with cinnamon ice cream and all topped with crumbled honeycomb toffee. The dessert also came with a cup of single origin coffee, which the resident coffee sommelier told us had “notes of sour cherry, rose and honey.”
This was almost an unfair choice because I am obsessed with banana-based foods, cinnamon ice cream and coffee. They clearly knew I was coming (cheaters).
Another food-related side note: I did ask for more cinnamon ice cream (and got it). My date told me I was embarrassing her. I didn’t respond because my mouth was full of ice cream, and talking with your mouth full is considered impolite.
Basically, go to Sotto.