This Tuesday night was a busy one for the newly opened Osteria Morini. Chef Michael White’s parents, restaurant critics, friends of the chef, and Anne Burrell were all spotted in the dining room. While everyone was nestled inside with warm plates of sweetbread and duck heart ragu, we stood on the street assailing exiting diners to get their immediate reactions on what they just ate.
Most people could barely pronounce the Italian names of dishes they ordered, but almost everyone was eager to tell us what they thought of Osteria Morini.
“We’re going to Balthazar now,” said Chris as he and his girlfriend, Lisette, left Morini. They had a mediocre experience at the bar. “There’s a nice ambiance, and not too much background noise,” Chris said, “but they wouldn’t let us sit at the bar if we were only having glasses of wine.” They were left to stand in the corner with their drinks while people were seated at the bar for dinner.
Two friends, Susan and Tara, both blond, seemed satisfied with their meals. Susan had the gamberi, oven-roasted shrimp wrapped in rosemary lardo. “It was delicious,” she said. Tara started with the pan-fried rabbit, and later had an order of petroniana, crispy veal cutlet with prosciutto, both of which she enjoyed.
Chef White’s friend Kyle told us about a dish made especially for his party — one that’s seemingly so simple that they left it off the menu: two hard-boiled eggs topped with bread crumbs with truffle shavings on top. “It was like orgasm meets brunch,” Kyle said.
Gina, a tall brunette, liked the fegatini, duck liver mousse, followed by the bracciole di maiale, roasted pork chops. She thought that the atmosphere was “a little bit noisy, but that added to the fun of it.”
Kelvin and Wendy, a young couple, shared the polenta and sausage, with sides of broccoli and cauliflower. Wendy recommended the garganelli pasta. “Mmm,” she said with her eyes squeezed shut. “It was so good. I’m reliving it right now.”