Osteria Morini - Michael White's Latest Venture

Exterior shot of Morini - courtesy of NY.Eater.com

We made an OpenTable.com reservation for the newest Michael White restaurant, Osteria Morini -just tried it out tonight.If you've been to Alto, Marea or Convivio, this place is fine-tuned in terms of the type of cuisine that one expects when dining at a Chef White's creation -it doesn't disappoint.

The menu included the typical Italian antipasti that could be found in his other locales - olives, sardines, et al. In particular, the Bolognese style street food was good -albeit way overpriced. Two mini-skewers of ham and cheese, three tiny droplets of polenta cakes along with 2 deep-fried Italian style cheese sticks... not to say that it wasn't yummy... but it was just minuscule according to price versus portion.

For a restaurant that hasn't been open a very long while... a few weeks at best, we dined there fully knowing that things probably weren't a well-oiled machine. That's ok - and to be expected. Even their website is dysfunctional at present.... hopefully that will be up and running soon, too. (Hint, hint!)

Requesting to order appetizers first was something our waiter wasn't willing to do. He wouldn't take an order until we knew what we wanted for the main courses. The wait time for drinks was a tad slower than normal but they were quick to keep our water glasses replenished!

Side orders of polenta and spinach were very tasty! And I'd recommend ordering these two items together.The main courses of stuffed pasta (I can't resist - even when I WANT to do something more adventurous on the menu) were practically licked off my plate, one by one. The tortellini della nonna had just that extra va-va-voom to its delicate texture and combined some tasty bits of prosciutto intermingling with the buttery sauce that begged me not to leave any of it to go back to the kitchen uneaten. I happily complied. Hey, I did what I needed to do, ok? Don't judge me.

All in all, the service was good but has room for a substantial improvement (except those bus boys - they were really good with the attentiveness). The atmosphere was rustic but not too remarkable -it's a large space and can get pretty loud as the diners try to talk over one another. Don't get me wrong, the interior design is amicable, but it reeks of Pottery Barn-ish catalog. The bright lights and constant bustle could be a big turn off for the tables seated close to the windows and swinging door of the kitchen area. Avoid that if you possibly can.

I'd recommend a visit -but give them a few weeks to work out some service and let them play with the menu offerings (and prices) before booking a reservation.

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