Gran Morsi means bites in Italian, representing the theme of this restaurant centered around small plates perfect to share. And as we were in the mood for Italian food, it was an ideal spot for us.
We went on a weekday, for lunch, the day Jodi graduated from The New York Academy of Art, completing a two year program culminating with a masters degree. The place was not that crowded and I admit that I was fine with it, the noise level being reasonable and the atmosphere relaxed. I like the decor at Gran Morsi: warm, with a touch of nature that is unexpected I the heart of TriBeCa.
Menu wise, we went for few dishes that Executive Chef Kenneth Johnson crafted, taking classic dishes and giving them a creative flare. We ordered of course the meatballs or Polpette that allowed Chef Johnson to beat Chef Bobby Flay on a meatball throw down.
They were made with black angus beef and Berkshire pork, bathed in a thick tomato sauce that had a bold flavor and that I could just have eaten with the toasted bread that came with the dish. The meatballs were succulent: not dry, they were dense and flavorful.
The second dish we shared was the mozzarella di buffala served with a tomato chutney and a pesto sauce, as well as crostini. I liked it, but admit that I definitely prefer burrata that is much more decadent. It was still good, the tomato chutney being better for me than the pesto sauce.
Then was the watermelon tomato salad, made with kalamata olives, feta and mint; a great salad for the summer that we often make.
Last was the Spanish octopus accompanied with a potato and chorizo salad, a tomato aioli and lovage. The star of the dish was definitely the octopus that was sublime: not rubbery, it was nicely charred. I just wished there was more...
Although the portions were not so big, we did not feel like having dessert, not that we thought that it would not be good: to the contrary, we already saw their chocolate olive oil cake that looked delicious, but we did not want to indulge before the big event that was coming for Jodi. So, anyway, it gives us another reason to go back to Gran Morsi, maybe for dinner this time, as we really enjoyed our meal there.
Enjoy (I did)!
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