Back Again: Ristorante Morini

Recently my sister and I re-visted a favorite brunch spot. We hadn’t been there in a while, but our prior experiences had been so fantastic that we consistently recommended it to our family and friends. Social media famous, the restaurant has no trouble bringing in a steady stream of customers. When we returned we found that while the service was as friendly as ever, the food had taken a nosedive. The prices had gone up, and it was clear that the establishment had cut corners on the meal in order to save time and money. When half your meal consists of inedible chips, you know it’s time to move on to greener pastures. It was disappointing to have to remove this once-beloved spot from our list of recommended brunch spots. The best places, I find, are the most consistent not only in great food and service, but also over time. Ristorante Morini is one such place.

Ristorante Morini Chicken Eggplant Meatballs

My sister (perpetual lunch, brunch, and dinner companion) and I returned to Ristorante Morini in March after not having been for almost a year. Unlike my ill-fated brunch spot, Altamarea Group’s Ristorante Morini, did not cut corners over time. The menu is varied and the offers are exciting. I could spot a couple of old favorites (like those insane Bocconcini – chicken eggplant meatballs) as well as more than a few new menu items that I was dying to try.

Ristorante Morini Burrata Salad

To start we had the Burrata salad – creamy mozzarella, car acara orange, mache salad, and a toasted baguette. I love burrata, and the tartness of the cara cara orange and balsalmic reduction cut through the creamy mozzarella in the most delightful way.

Ristorante Morini Pasta NYC

My sister had Spagetti Vongole, a comforting pasta studded with manila clams and baby leeks. I had the Hanger Steak – grilled hanger steak with broccoli rabe and salsa verde. The entire dish was so good, I was tempted to lick the plate.

Ristorante Morini Hanger SteakBest Lunch Spots in NYC

A newer addition on the Ristorante Morini menu, the Semifreddo, was the dessert that surprised me the most. The dessert is a white chocolate semifreddo dome, complete with cashews, blackberries, and tiny mint leaves. I was immediately taken by the dessert mostly because I couldn’t stop eating it – it has great textures and flavors, but I really liked that it felt understated, it was a simple dessert that didn’t overwhelm the meal.

Ristorante Morini NYC

We also had the Torta Di Cioccolata (dark chocolate mousse, chantilly cream, and hazelnut gelato), which is another testament to what a great restaurant RM is. Last time I was here the same menu item looked completely different, and while the structure of the dessert has changed all the flavors are still here. In fact, I quite like how they changed it. This time, instead of being served in a bowl, the torta was served like a tiny cake. It was a perfect chocolate dessert.

Ristorante Morini Torta di Cioccolata

We also had the Torta Di Olio, which the fantastic waitress recommended to me. I’m not entirely certain if it’s a newer menu addition, but it was a first for me. The Torta Di Olio is an olive oil cake, with ricotta mousse, raspberries, rhubarb, served with pistachio gelato. My favorite flavors are tart and sweet, so this was right up my block, and it might just be my favorite dessert. Everything about it was perfect, from the meringue shards as garnish to the moiste cake and lemony curd. I wish I had one right now!

Torta di Olio Ristorante Morini

The staff at Ristorante Morini were absolutely kind, never hovering but always available. I cannot recommend this spot enough if you’re looking for a great brunch, lunch, or dinner. Their prices are fair, and the prixe-fix menu is definitely a deal. Most encouragingly, you can rely on Ristorante Morini for a great dining experience, every time.

Ristorante Morini
1167 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10028
(212) 249-0444

http://ristorantemorini.com

Restaurant Review: Ristorante Morini

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.

Ristorante Morini BarRistorante Morini

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.

Ristorante Morini Chicken MeatballsRistorante Morini Meatballs

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.

Ristorante Morini Tartare

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!).

Ristorante Morini Sea Bass

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.

Ristorante Morini DulceRistorante Morini BudinoRistorante Morini Panna Cotta

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!