Chef Michael White: New Rustic Italian at Osteria Morini

Interior of Osteria Morini in NYC rustic Italian decorations, wood tables and chairs, subdued lighting

With Osteria Morini, a brand new rustic Italian restaurant on Lafayette Street in Soho, Chef Michael White pulls off the exceedingly difficult but enormously appealing trick of combining the best of all possible restaurant worlds. The food here–all rich and meaty, from Northern Italy's Emilia-Romagna region–is excellent, worthy of a true destination restaurant; while the rustic decor and convivial atmosphere–not to mention the reasonable prices–give Osteria Morini in NYC the warm feeling of a favorite neighborhood spot. We managed to secure stools at the "Chef's Bar" a couple of times last week during previews, and plan to put a stop-in for White's addictive pastas and grilled meats onto our regular dining rotation, all winter long. 

Chef Michael White serves up skewers of sweetbreads wrapped in sage with peppers and onions on a Italian style plate with flower accents

Our favorite dish of the week might have been from the large Macelleria, or Butcher, section of the menu: two generously packed skewers-worth of spit roasted, melt-in-your-mouth sweetbreads wrapped in sage, sweet and juicy hunks of Hampshire pork, onions and peppers and tomatos. Mouth-watering stuff for hungry carnivores. No surprise in a Chef Michael White show, pastas play a major role here at Osteria Morini. We've tried two; can't wait to try more. The Gramigna ("little weeds") were chewy and had plenty of heft to stand up to the thick and satisfying pork sausage and tomato sauce. Even better was the plump, meaty Tortellini, smothered in an intense duck liver panna. Like everything here, this is not for the cholesterol faint of heart. 

Chef Michaeil White specialties at Osteria Morini a shallow bowl of meaty tortellini covered with duck liver panna

Spinacini beignets filled with ricotta, spinach and truffle filling deep fried from Chef Michael White

Osteria Morini NYC has a Cosse Fritte section of the menu (literally: "fried things"), which we, of course, felt morally obligated to dive into. The Spiedini were like the cheese sticks of your dreams, the gooey emmental given bite by chunks of funky mortadella. The seemingly-too-small Spinacini beignets threatened to disappoint, but the ricotta, spinach and truffle filling packed plenty of punch. And our one foray into Chef Michael White's Antipasti division delivered in a huge way, with a plate of probably the best Coniglio we've ever had, the tender rabbit chunks pan fried to perfection, nicely paired with artichoke and handfuls of lemony mache and fantastically bitter radicchio. Heck, even the bread baskets were terrific, loaded with thick tomato bruschetta-esque pieces one night, then several excellent olive rolls the next. 

Rabbit pan fried and served with artichokes and radicchio with sage garnish at Osteria Morini

Osteria Morini Details 

Chef Michael White's Osteria Morini is located on Lafayette Street between Spring and Broome Streets, and  is open for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Dinner service begins every night at 5:30 p.m. and runs through until 1:00 a.m. For more information,see the Osteria Morini website.  

Bread basket with tomato focaccia breads on a table with bottle of olive oil all handmade at Osteria Morini

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