To officially celebrate my birthday, last night my aunt Rebecca, her friend the Riz and I went to Osteria Morini in SoHo for a birthday dinner! Buon Compleanno a Me!
I remember someone mentioning Chef Michael White’s Osteria Morini at work and commenting how good the food was. When it came time to pick a restaurant for my birthday dinner (mind you, I did this a good month in advance out of excitement), I decided to try it out. What’s a better way to celebrate a birthday than with some good ol’ rustic Italian comfort food?
I have only recently been exposed to Chef Michael White. We’ve done a few things with him at work – he was on Extra Virgin and No Reservations – and I once delivered something to his Altamarea Group offices (not realizing who I was delivering it to, mind you). Before dining at Osteria Morini, I read almost everything I could about Chef White.
Chef Michael White is a Midwesterner from Wisconsin who after culinary school here in the States trained for several years in Italy. He’s renowned here in New York for his rustic Italian food and his hand-made pastas. (Up there with the likes of Mario Batali!)
A quote I found while researching (which I love!):
“One of my secrets to running a calm kitchen is that I speak softly. If people want to hear me, everyone has to be calm and quiet.”
With his hospitality group, he run several restaurants with locations in New York and New Jersey including Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini, Al Molo, Nicoletta, Due Mari and Marea. Marea is a two Michelin star restaurant focusing on seafood and has been ranked one of the top Italian restaurants in New York (one day!).
Of course, I watched the Emilia-Romanga No Reservations episode (only seems fitting).
Chef White and Tony visit the restaurant where Michael trained as well as sampling some amazing looking Italian food. (My next travel destination has got to be Italy!) But, anyway, I was struck by how personable Michael White is and how passionate he is about food. I love seeing passion in people (especially when it comes to food) and it made me really excited to dine at Osteria Morini.
Osteria Morini focuses on simple, rustic dishes (often meat-centric) with bold, rich flavors from the Emilia-Romaga region of Italy. (The restaurant is named after White’s mentor from his days in Italy).
Take a look at this video on the restaurant:
The food was great! Everything we had was so flavorful and the perfect about of decadence while still being down to earth comfort food. We decided to do a bit of family style – we had the meatballs and a pasta dish as an appetizer, followed by individual entrees that we all sampled. I had the veal cutlet (with a to die for truffle cream!). My aunt had the Brodetto, a seafood soup (not pictured) and the Riz had the lamb (not pictured). We also had a side of the cauliflower and escarole gratin. For dessert, we had a gelato sampler and the olive oil cake (accompanied with a birthday candle!). Seriously everything was so good!
Polpettine – prosciutto & mortadella meatballs baked in tomato sauce
TORTELLINI PANNA – traditional meat filled pasta, duck liver mousse, cream
PETRONIANA – crispy veal cutlet, prosciutto cotto, buttered spinach, parmigiano, truffled cream
Three scoops of gelato – blood orange/basil, lemon/rosemary, and goat cheese/honey
Olive oil cake with pistachio gelato
I should also mention Osteria Morini has an Industry Night on Mondays — all pastas are $10 after 9pm! One day!