Tuesday, November 8
Osteria Morini - Comfort Italian
Regarded as one of New York Times’ noteworthy newcomers in 2010, Osteria Morini is owned by chef Michael White, one celebrity chef who has yet to mark his spot on our shores. The food, an ode to Emilia Romagna (Northern part of Italy), is comfort rustic but still very elegant. I'll admit it is hard to pinpoint what's really pleasant about the meal; I recognize most of the flavours but I didn't expect them to come together quite like that.
Their focaccia is model citizen quality - crackingly crusty on the outside and airy fluffy on the inside. We are off to a very good start.
Mezzaluna, half-moon ravioli filled with roasted heirloom squash, cooked with amaretto and brown butter. If you like sweet, rich and comforting food, you will love this; if you don't, stay far far away from me. This went from "kw's dish" to '"let's share" in minutes.
As a side, we ordered one of their house-made sausages. I’m no sausage junkie but this was a really tasty grilled sausage. The menu describes it as "sweet" but nope, it didn't taste that way to me; in fact, I thought it was a fitting accompaniant to our sweetish pasta.
I was really torn between the Morini (sunny side ups with truffled cream spinach) and Branzino (grilled Mediterranean sea bass with salsa verde), and chose the latter upon our waiter’s recommendation.
No regrets. The skin beneath was delightfully crisp; the fish fishy in an oddly charming way, topped with tasty, garlicky crumbs.
For dessert, we ruled out the usual suspects - tiramisu and chocolate tart - and ordered the Budino Di Zucca, a luscious pumpkin custard, candied walnuts, topped with a flaky buttery crisp, and rum & raisin gelato. This was one hard-to-fault pumpkin treat.
Thumbs up for the torrone (almonds and honey) gelato too!
We really enjoyed this meal at Osteria Morini as it was neither fine dining nor stereotypically New York stereotypical (burgers, pizza etc). My only beef was that service was uncharacteristically chilly. We had to ask for the dessert menu and I had to ask twice for hot water. However, all in all, it was good meal to be had in New York City.