The go big or go home award: Osteria Morini

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  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Baked polenta at Osteria Morini

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Tortelli della nonna at Osteria Morini

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Garganelli at Osteria Morini

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Porchetta at Osteria Morini

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Petroniana (veal with truffle cream) at Osteria Morini

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  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Osteria Morini

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Osteria Morini

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Osteria Morini

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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Baked polenta at Osteria Morini

There are restaurants one visits to behold a chef's delicate hand or ponder the perfection of a simple raw oyster. And then there are places like Osteria Morini. This year Michael White showed rapacious epicures how to throw down at his raucous Bolognese tavern, where even a casual meal is a kind of gastronomic endurance test. Mousse of duck liver and wisps of speck give way to garganelli pasta with truffle-blasted cream, butter and prosciutto caught in its hollows. Then comes meat: wheels of fat-ridged porchetta; thick coins of sausage shingled over wine-braised lentils. You leave red-cheeked and short of breath, scandalized to have consumed such a procession of riches. But in a year that saw a surge of rustic Italian, we're glad one chef had the stones to go all the way. 218 Lafayette St between Broome and Spring Sts (212-965-8777, osteriamorini.com)

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