Ristorante Morini, NYC

August 5, 2014

Ristorante Morini was opened last December by Michael White, proprietor of Marea and other Italian restaurants in New York. Its location at the edge of Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side is unusual for an ambitious restaurant. I joined John and Carol there for dinner on July 24, 2014.

We were seated in the large upstairs dining room.
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The ground floor is more informal.

My aperitivo was a glass of Franciacorta Brut Majolini (Lombardia.) After perusing the interesting menu, we decided to have a fish and seafood meal and ordered a bottle of always reliable Roero Arneis Bruno Giacosa 2012.  

John and Carol’s first course was
sauté of scallops, shrimp, calamari and octopus, sea beans, lemon-colatura
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Carol liked this, but John thought that the broth was too insubstantial.

My starter was
mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, sugo alla pescatore.
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This was excellent. The sauce was full of good seafood flavor. The toasted breadcrumbs on top were just right adding needed crunch.

Carol’s main course was
grilled wild dover sole, golden raisin caponatta, toasted almond, passito di Pantelleria
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Carol really liked this. The sole was top quality. She thought that the raisins marinated in a sweet wine were very good and appropriate. 

John had
soft shell crab alla piastra, salsa verde, pancetta aioli, summer lettuces
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John was not so happy, thinking that the salad greens were inappropriate and ordinary; however, this was an appetizer ordered as a main course and so logically less substantial..

My main was
poached Atlantic halibut, summer corn, black pepper gnudi, clams, garlic scapes
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I enjoyed this. The seasonal sweet corn base went well and the garnishes were all good and appropriate..

Carol’s dessert was
pistachio, vanilla, hazelnut
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She liked the vanilla and hazelnut, but thought that the pistachio was without flavor. (I tasted it and agreed.)

John’s was
dark chocolate mousse, salted caramel, apricot sorbetto.
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John really liked this rich dessert a lot.

Mine was
hazelnut chocolate crema, banana, hazelnut gelato
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For me you cannot go wrong with hazelnut, banana and chocolate. This was an excellent use of them.

There was a small plate of mignardises to finish.
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This was a very good meal. It was hard to imagine that we were in the US. There were no unnecessary and unannounced hot or acid additions spicing up the dishes, hiding the taste of the ingredients and deadening the palate for the wine. The noise level was low; the service was friendly and efficient. Bravo, Michael White.



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