Osteria Morini is on the more casual end of Chef Michael White’s restaurant empire (though I feel like ’empire’ is used a bit too liberally – once you’re on at least both US coasts and two continents, then empire is somewhat more justified). But anyway, I’d previously been to Ai Fiori, which served up delicious food but had been a bit too stuffy for what my group had in mind that particular night, so I was excited to try Morini, a more rambunctious space with a more down-home menu. Less refinement isn’t always bad, particularly when the portions are a little heftier.
We started with a few appetizers. The bomba di riso, a crisped cake of creamy risotto filled with braised duck, with a fried egg on top. Each aspect of the dish was rich, from the yolk to the rice to the tender duck meat. A fresh seafood salad, with a few greens, a sprinkling of chives, olive oil and chopped capers. The seafood (mostly shrimp and scallops) was plump and sweet and substantial.I ordered a plate of the tortelli di mele, a robust plate of thick, eggy stuffed pasta with scalloped edges, with fried sage leaves and roasted hazelnuts. These were delicious, although at this point, I could’ve been fine with half the plate, because each of these had a luscious sweet potato and apple filling, so there was a good deal of sweetness both inside and out.We ordered a side of fingerling potatoes and cauliflower gratin for the table. I especially liked the potatoes, which were encased in a crispy outer layer. As a general rule, along as anything is encased in a crispy outer layer, I couldn’t care less what is on the inside. Someday I will perhaps regret living by this standard, but not that night at Morini.Myra and our friend Jessica split this dome of tagliatelle with veal-and-pork ragu. I had a bite and found the noodles to be really well-made. The ragu was great as well, a tangy mess of broken-down meat. Osteria Morini
218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012