There’s been a lot of buzz about Osteria Morini, the casual “farmhouse chic” (really) trattoria in SoHo where Michael White — chef of Marea, Convivio and a bunch of other well-regarded Italian restaurants — is in the kitchen. The menu focuses on Emilia-Romagna, in the north of Italy, and that means a lot of richness with pork fat, cream and butter. So we expected a lot of flavor. We got that in the appetizers, but in the pastas? Not so much.
Above, the gnocchi with tomatoes and basil. Not that there was anything wrong with it — but it really just wasn’t that flavorful. It was OK. Fine. Not what you want to hear from a chef who has another restaurant with three stars from the New York Times and a best new restaurant award from the James Beard Foundation.
Same for the tagliatelle with mushrooms:
Good. Rich. Tasty. But something Greg and I could make at home — and probably better. There wasn’t any oomph, no wow factor to the food.
We started out on a good note. This rabbit rillette on this crostini was very nice, but it was overdone with too much cream (mascarpone?) underneath:
And we liked this little fried sampler — especially the mortadella skewer on the right, which was very, very good — but I nearly burned my mouth and ruined my shirt when I bit into the bechamel croquette on the left.
The bechamel was like a hot lava, streaming out of the croquette and nearly burning my tongue. I had no choice but to spit, nearly staining my clothes. Not fun, even for a klutz like me. The polenta cubes with lardo on top were good, at least.
Ah well. At least our bartender — not the one pictured; she had red glasses — was super nice and very accommodating.
The dining room reminded me of an Italian restaurant from the 1970s:
We ended the night on a nice note — a poached pear with gelato, hazelnuts and meringue:
The 411 on Osteria Morini: 218 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012-4021. 212-965-8777, osteriamorini.com