Monday, April 28, 2014

Ristorante Morini

It is no secret that I really enjoy Chef Michael White's restaurants. In fact, I like them so much that I made it a point to visit all of them. And so for my own birthday this year, I decided to go to the rest of the Michael White's restaurants. You know, the ones that he's recently opened and the ones that are not easy to reach (meaning the NJ ones). So for the first Michael White, I went to Costata with my sister and her husband which was a fine meal. But when I went to Ristorini Morini with The Feisty Foodie and Dessert Zombie, I was graced with an even more fabulous meal. It was a meal that brought me back to wonderful Convivio which I had loved so much.
But enough about my love for this mid western chef's food. You're here for the food. But before I start, I would like to mention that we all did the $84 4-course menu but the prices I show below are for the a la carte. And so here are the starters. I had the Capesante ($26, +$6 supplement) which had seared sea scallops, hen of the wood mushrooms, black truffle, and butternut squash puree. Delicious! Sweet tender large scallops with earthy mushrooms, sweet squash, and funky truffles. It was a really great start to a meal. Light yet flavorful.

The Feisty Foodie had the Terrina ($22) which was a rabbit and foie terrine with heirloom apples with fig mostarda, and toasted brioche. Look at how beautiful that apple was prepared. I know that she loved this dish and savored every bite.
Dessert Zombie had the Mare Nostrum ($25, +$5 supplement) with a saute of scallops, shrimp, calamari, octopus, sea beans, and lemon colatura. He really enjoyed his dish as well. Light, bright, and delicious morsels from the ocean.
Wowza! The appetizers were great. And now onto the pasta course. I had the Tortelli ($28) which was a Maine lobster ravioli (but really a large tortellini) in squid ink pasta stuffed with lobster in a crustacean brodetto. If I thought my appetizer of scallops was good, this was beyond that. Rich lobster, supple pasta, and intense seafood broth. Incredible. You should know that Chef Michael White is known for his housemade pastas.
The Feisty Foodie had the Ferratini ($27) with carbonara sauce, guanciale, egg, pecorino, and scallions. If there were a pasta that were made for her, this would be it. Al denta pasta, creamy sauce, a bit of pork, and the richness of an egg.
And Dessert Zombie had the Spaghetti ($27) with mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari in a sugo alla pescatore (seafood sauce). Again, another really good pasta dish
Damn the food has been so good so far. Honestly, I could have stopped eating now. But there was still the meat and dessert course. I trudged on and happily devoured the Nodino di Vitello ($52, +$9 supplement). This thick bone-in veal chop with cippolini onions, endives, and pancetta cream. This was so good. Perfectly cooked with a nice seared crust and juicy inside. A rich creamy sauce with some soft onions and pancetta on the side. So good that even when I was full, I ate the whole damn thing. And so good that Dessert Zombie who also ordered this dish, loved it and ate it all himself as well.
You would think the Feisty Foodie would be jealous of that big juicy piece of meat. But nope. She had her own fantastic entree to drool over: the Anatra ($39). A perfectly fat rendered duck breast with cotechino sausage, castelluccino lentils, and huckleberry finanziera sauce. Look at how perfectly pink the duck breast was in the middle. In retrospect, I think she hummed a happy tune while eating this. She took in every last bite and drop of sauce.
Hot damn, that was a grand slam of a meal. If we didn't do the prix fixe, I think we would have skipped dessert or at least just shared one (except for Dessert Zombie; he's always up for sweets). I was feeling quite full by this point so I opted for the Tiramisu ($13) which was like no traditional tiramisu. Instead of a cakelike dessert, this was served in a bowl with a mascarpone mousse on the bottom, ladyfinger crisps, espresso crunchies, and amaretto and chocolate sorbetto. Though the ingredients may sound a bit heavy, it was a lighter dessert with strong espresso to cut through the richness.
Dessert Zombie had the Fiorentina ($13) with chocolate crema, chocolate biscotto, fior di latte gelato, and finished off with melted chocolate poured tableside. If you love chocolate like Dessert Zombie, then you would love this dessert. In fact, he exuded his happiness so loudly that the waiter left the little gravy boat of chocolate on the table for him to finish off. But he didn't finish it off on the dessert. Oh no. He decided to finish it off by pouring it directly into his own mouth. He was one very happy man.
The Feisty Foodie had the Torta al Formaggi ($13) which was like an Italian cheesecake with the custard filling being very light and airy with a side of grapefruit gelee and prosecco sorbetti. She enjoyed this as well.
We were all so stuffed but happy. Everything was so delicious and we enjoyed everything from the food to the decor to the service. And Chef Michael White was in the kitchen which made the experience that much nicer. And as a parting gift with our bill, they gave use a couple of chocolate truffles, caramels, and torrone.

Ristorante Morini
1167 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 249-0444
ristorantemorini.com

2 comments:

  1. 1- amazing meal, love reliving it through you!!! (though I actually wasn't the biggest fan of my first course, it was the only one that fell flat- I would not be surprised at all if we "checked the tape" and I really was humming while eating that AMAZING duck... I wanna go back!)
    2- your pictures are heads and tails above mine; solid proof that having a 'fancier' camera doesn't mean anything if the person holding it doesn't know what they're doing!
    3- I want to go back...

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  2. VEAL!!!!!! Chocolate boat in my mouth...
    A very great meal. Glad we got to celebrate with you, Hungry.

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