A typical day for me involves taking a rather long, but not arduous, journey uptown by way of Madison Avenue. There are worse avenues to travel. And every day, for quite sometime, I pass Ristorante Morini and make mental notes to eat there. Thanks to Gilt City, I finally got my chance. Being of the kind that spends hours reading Yelp reviews and following food blogs, I was well aware that Ristorante Morini was not only one of the restaurants belonging to Michael White’s Altamarea Group but also that it had a pretty darn good reputation. And judging by my experience it’s a reputation that’s well-earned.
Upon entry, the first thing you’ll notice about Ristorante Morini is their gorgeous bar, which adds character to the white tablecloth atmosphere. The restaurant does consist of two levels, with the top accessible by elevator. Drawing a fair, but not crushing crowd, their prix fixe lunch menu is one of the better ones that I’ve seen in the city. For our appetizers my guest, Rosemary from NYC Style & A Little Cannoli, had Bocconcini – tomato-braised chicken-eggplant meatballs with mozzarella di bufala and garnished with torn basil.
The meatballs were insane – perfectly tender, and packed with flavor. They tasted like they had some kind of sausage in them, but I’m not certain. I had the Tonno – bigeye tuna tartare, crispy fingerlings, radish, and parsnip crema. I’m a massive tartare fan, so I eat tuna pretty often. This tartare was fresh, and I loved the texture added on by the crispy fingerlings, but the most spectacular addition to this tartare was the crisped capers. They tasted like they had been briefly pan fried, which gave this instant pop of saltiness that enhanced the whole dish.
For our main, she had grilled sea bass, served with cauliflower, pine nuts, golden raisins, and saba. The dish was plated beautifully, and according to Rosemary, very delicious. I had the Milanese, a crispy veal cutlet wrapped in bruschetta, and served with aged balsamico and cream spinach. I loved it, it’s so filling that I couldn’t even finish all of it (which rarely happens, haha!).
For dessert we had the Budino – a sweet italian custard or pudding – this one featured Gianduja, chocolate crema, banana, and hazelnut gelato. Rosemary had the Panna Cotta, one of my favorite desserts, this was a vanilla panna cotta with citrus, pistachio, toasted meringue, and blood orange granita.
The toasted meringue were so tiny and perfect! They were really reflective of the entire meal which was clearly executed perfectly and done with attention to every detail. I cannot wait to bring my friends and family here – next time I’m definitely trying their pasta, which I’ve heard nothing but good things about! Want to dine at Ristorante Morini yourself? Right now Gilt City had an amazing deal for dinner and brunch at Ristorante Morini – check them out here! While you’re there be sure to check out Gilt City’s other local offerings!