I love Italian food! That's true that for most people, Italian food is associated to pizza, pasta and risotto. There is so much more (a good veal liver...). Now, the food has to be tasty and fresh, otherwise, I can make it myself at home, especially considering that lots of supermarkets or grocery stores sell delicious fresh pasta. By the way, for those who do not know: when cooking, you do not put the pasta in the water unless it boils!!!
New York has great Italian restaurants and it is not in Little Italy that you will automatically find them. Morandi is one of them. What is interesting is that the owner, Keith McNally (very Italian), opened many restaurants that have nothing to do with Italian food, but are very popular for New Yorkers: Balthazar, Pastis, Pravda...
I really like the atmosphere of the restaurant: spacious, warm, rustic with its wooden tables and the bricks on the wall. The service is efficient and nice.
Now, let's talk about the food: I went once for brunch and it was delicious. They have a mix between brunch standards (waffle, eggs...) and Italian specialties. This time, we went for dinner. We started with the burrata that is a cheese made of mozzarella and cream (the outer shell is made of solid mozzarella while the inside is made with mozzarella and cream - very creamy). It was served with roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine, some olive oil and a hint of balsamic vinegar. While eating it, you could feel the crystals of kosher salt. I really love the creaminess of the cheese inside: it is so refreshing.
For the main course, we tried two dishes:
- Pici al Limone that are hand rolled spaghetti with lemon and parmesan: first of all the pasta were awesome. Based on the taste, I would not be surprised that they make them. The sauce was very good too with not too much lemon, but enough to taste it (too much would have tasted like dish soap).
- Linguine alle vongole: pasta with clams,white wine and green garlic. This is my favorite. When I try a new Italian restaurant, I always try this one. It is a good test. Morandi definitely makes it perfectly. First, the clams are real clams, not from a can! There was a good quantity and they were very fresh. Second, the sauce was outstanding: I ate some of it with a spoon! It had a perfect texture (not too liquid) and the green garlic was not overpowering at all. The last part is the pasta: cooked al dente. Overall, a very, very, very good dish!
We finished the dinner with a Tiramisu. Unfortunately, it was not that great. The layer made with egg yolks and mascarpone did not have that much taste. Despite this, I will definitely go back to Morandi and recommend this restaurant!
Enjoy (I did)!