218 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10012
Date Dined: 11.14.11
Michael White is one of my favorite chefs of the moment. To date, every dish I have had in one of his restaurants has been impeccable. Osteria Morini is more casual than most of White’s other restaurants but the quality of the food was by no means sacrificed.
Osteria Morini is a very warm, rustic, inviting restaurant located in my favorite intersection in Nolita. The ambience is like a more upscale version of your grandmother’s kitchen. The menu is best approached family-style which I of course like because that means that I am allowed to taste everything without feeling like I am encroaching on someone’s plate.
We started with the Mare – an Adriatic style seafood salad, with olives, lemon, and capers. I was really happy that we got this dish because it was very fresh and light in comparison to the other dishes we ordered. The seafood had a very clean flavor that was highlighted by the bright lemon and olives. Finely shredded celery topped the dish giving it a bit of a crunch.
Next up we had the Gnudi which were ricotta and spinach dumplings, with sage, and parmigiano. These gnudi were large and more like a ricotta meatball than a gnocci. Each one was very crispy on the outside with a hot fluffy interior and lightly painted with a brown glaze. Flash fried sage leaves on top made a crisp tasty garnish.
For our pasta course we had the Cappelleti- truffled ricotta ravioli, melted butter, prosciutto. It was probably a bit redundant to get these ravioli after just having the gnudi but our server insisted they were delicious. We were not disappointed. The fresh little pastas were the perfect texture with the right amount of creamy filling and just a hint of truffle so as not to be overpowering.
Our main course was the Porchetta- a spit roasted Hampshire pork, with sage and rosemary. I had read that this was one of the best porcettas in the city so I had to see for myself. The pork itself was tender with the right amount of fat to seal in all the juices. The outer skin formed a delicious crispy bark around the meat. The dish was completed by a few traditional Italian, simply roasted vegetables- radicchio, fennel and cherry tomatoes.
We ordered Wild Arugala for good measure to add some greenery to our meal of meats and pastas but the baby leaves were incredibly zesty, fresh and peppery and definitely made us feel a bit better about eating all the other dishes.
Morini may have just taken the lead as my favorite Italian spot in the City.