Osteria Morini, NYC
Executive Chef: Michael White
Price: $10-15 appetizers, $15-20 mains
Address: 218 Lafayette Street, NY, NY 10012
Hours: Brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am -4pm; Lunch Mon-Fri11:30am-3:30pm; Bar Menu Mon-Fri 3:30pm-5pm; Dinner Mon-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thurs-Sat 5pm-1am, Sun 5pm-10:30pm
I had a friend in town which gave me an opportunity to play hooky on a Friday afternoon. I never really have sit-down lunches during the work week, so I wanted to pick a place that would be tough to get into during the typical dinner stampede hours. So I chose Osteria Morini based on its stellar reviews, accolades from friends and my previous experiences at Michael White restaurants such as Ai Fiori.
I showed up at noon and the place was still quiet and empty, but by 1pm was bustling with hungry patrons. The interior was a contrast to the more formally decorated Marea and Ai Fiori. I loved the long communal tables, the framed photos adorning the walls, hanging shelves and kitchenwares. The setting was definitely more of a casual catch-up with friends rather than power lunch. The service was prompt and friendly and the chef accommodated my friend’s idiosyncratic tastes.
The food at the restaurant focuses on the long gastronomic traditions of the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy. If you look at a map of the region, you’ll find many familiar city names that we have come to associate with specific foods: Parma (prosciutto), Modena (balsamic vinegar), Reggio Emilia (parmesan), Bologna (mortadella). So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a restaurant would be entirely dedicated to region that is the source of Italian cuisine.
I think the bread was doused in butter and was addictive
Ricotta di Pecora whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, peas, nepitella pesto, toasted walnuts
Peas are quite underrated sometimes I think. They rarely get a spotlight which is sad because they are delicious and look very pretty on a plate. Their crispness complimented the smoothness of the whipped ricotta. This dish rocked my socks.
Stracci wide-ribbon pasta, braised porcini mushrooms
My friend ordered this and devoured it in a minute. Braised porcini mushrooms were amazing.
Polpette prosciutto & mortadella meatballs, spinach pomodoro, mozarella
I decided to be a little more carb adventurous than I usually am and ordered one of the flatbreads, unsure what to expect. The prosciutto and mortadella meatballs were good, but I prefer both in sliced form over meatballs.