Osteria Morini NYC – Michael White’s Little Gem

An “Osteria” is traditionally known to be a drinking hole for folk in rural Italy, often pouring cheap local wine straight from the barrel, whilst serving food on the side, made fresh on the day with what was available, meaning menus were rendered pointless. Michael White, inspired by this concept, treasure hunts flea markets, scouring deals for rustic style Italian furnishings to create Osteria Morini. It debuts in October 4th 2010, serving up cured meats, stews, steaks and of course what Michael is famed for – his pasta.

The tomahawks looked insane. 

The ciabata came with a beautiful salty crust and fluffy centre, it didn’t have a hint of greasiness at all. Carb heaven. 

The wine we had which came with stemless glasses was rich and full bodied. 

The plump cappelletti $26 was filled with truffled ricotta and prosciutto, all glistening in a puddle of butter. The slickness, texture and flavour were wonderful.    

The hand rolled al-dente fusilli came with umami Neopolitan pork shoulder ragù and a quenelle robiolina cheese ($23). The texture, tanginess, together with the richness of all the components really made this dish sing. 

The mezzaluna was a more subtle affair with its ricotta di bufala, sweet chestnut filled ravioli, brown butter and sage $22. But again the brilliantly made pasta makes this an accomplished dish. 

The ribbons of affectionately made squid ink torcia was definitely a fishy dish, enhanced by sepia (cuttlefish) and shrimp ragù $24 – its robustness wasn’t for my palate that evening I’m afraid to say, especially with such pitch perfect company.  

To bring in the deserts we were served some piping hot cider bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) fresh from the fryer. The were dense and lovely, made extra delicious by spooning some ice cream on them.    

The mille panna cotta $10 came jiggly as it should be, fragranced with honey, vanilla, thyme roasted figs, thick & sharp balsamic reduction with crunchy honeycomb candy. It was mouth-watering stuff. 

Equally delectable was the “budino” $10 of baked subtly spiced pumpkin custard, crumbly cinnamon streusel, sweet cranberry compote and delightful hazelnut brittle in a puddle of balanced sweetness.  

Here is their 3 scoop gelato $8, with some interesting, inventive flavours from olive oil with lemon, bourbon apple cider and salted caramel.  

And finally the burnt cinnamon gelato with an apple chip and crumb. 

The verdict:

When did I go? November 2016
The damage: $50-$60 per head with wine
The good: It’s brilliant here, full of evocative unfussy, ingredient-led food that I just want to eat with friendly service. The reasonably priced pasta dishes are a must of you want to hit a home run.
The bad: Not that much to be fair.
Rating: 4/5
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone: +1 212-965-8777

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