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Osteria Morini - Chef Michael White's Latest


mrud
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so i'm pretty excited about this place and hoping for good initial reviews. anyone hit any soft opening events or plan on going in the near future? emilia romana downtown sounds pretty good!

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Went for opening night this evening. Michael White and Chris Cannon were there to greet diners and friends. Pastas remain his strong suit: the tagliatelle with ragu was particularly delicious, with the light and fluffy noodles keeping the dish from becoming too heavy. The crochettes, with specks and bechamel sauce, was also a wonderful appetizer. I was not much of a fan of the braised beef shank with potato puree and root vegetables: the meat was cooked unevenly, with the outer layers being fork tender, and the meat around the shank bone being dry and tough. For dessert, try the panna cotta: it was outstanding, with the silky smooth yet thick panna cotta balanced by the strawberry compote and peach slices. Surprisingly, not many shutterbugs; I myself forgot my camera in the car. Some ladies had their photo taken with Papa Bear White, but otherwise, the flashes and clicks were few and far between. They will be offering a 25% discount this week to all diners, as they test and refine their dishes. The full menu will be out by next week.

Edited by The Food Doc (log)
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Last night,a friend and I were easily able to grab two bar seats at an early hour, so we did.

There are a few "low-alcohol" apertivi on the menu at $11, but I went straight for the Negroni-ish cocktail, which is simply a Negroni in proportions of 1.5:1:1, served up. Tanqueray gin and Antica (on tap!) were the two variable elements, and at $14, not necessarily a cheap cocktail, but nevertheless a well-made one.

Osteria Morini Negroni.JPG

Since my friend was expected to go home and prepare dinner for his wife, we didn't order tons of food; there were some menu items that I must immediately return for, as a matter of fact. But what we had, overall, was pretty tasty.

For starters, we had the crocchette, mentioned above, served with nary an adornment...just the wonderful smoky flavor of speck infusing the molten bechamel - please kids, be careful when eating this gem, or risk the interior mouth burn. Our other anitpasto was fegatini, a smooth, luscious liver mousse served with, as usual, too few toasts (is it such a hard concept to serve the proper amount of toasts for the amount of whatever is supposed to be spread on them? I guess so).

For our mains, I chose the strozzapreti (priest stranglers) with braised porcini, the pasta as wonderful as any I've had in recent memory. The braise of mushrooms was almost meatlike, and the pasta just what my nonna would have made if she was an Italian grandmother from Emilia instead of a Jewish one from Minsk. My buddy ordered another appetizer (remember, he was still having dinner) of fried rabbit, which were quite simply some delicious hunks of fried rabbit - sweet, juicy and all those things that rabbit most of the time isn't. There was a bit of bitter greens or reds on the plate, to help cut through the rabbit, but we weren't fighting over those.

Dessert and coffee service will be left for another day, sadly. There is a fully automatic espresso system set-up that may have cost $20K, or may have cost nothing if they're getting their beans from the coffee machine supplier - who knows? But I do have a feeling the coffee won't be a highlight of the meal.

Add this to a growing list of excellent places to get your Italian fix on.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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A note of interest, the fried rabbit was fried in Strucco, or the lard from the hams and it was amazing. It was as moist as could be and had the perfect amount of saltiness and texture from the fat.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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  • 1 month later...

Ate at the counter last Sat night early and loved it. Antica on tap? Helloooo? Enough said?

We started with the fritti - nice, clean fry, and moved on to the mozzarella with figs - perfect, simple dish. Brussels sprouts were perfection. Favorite dish of the night was the polenta, which comes baked in an earthenware dish, layered with pork ragu and breadcrumbs. I've been off pasta for a few months now for health reasons and let me tell you - this dish made me not miss pasta one bit. That's quite a compliment.

Service was positively lovely.

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