Morini starts as a memory of Bologna. The top of the menu is a selection of prosciutto, mortadella, coppa and other salumi in a room where most everyone is drinking fizzy red wine. The ceiling is open to the beams, the kind of massive wooden structure that might have graced Soho before 19th century cast iron. In fact, the beams come direct from Italy, reclaimed from an old farmhouse. The food comes from Michael White, whose pastas have captured the imagination of New Yorkers at Marea, Alto and Convivio, here presented on bare wooden tables with paper napkins. The wine list centers on Emilia-Romagna, with pink Lambrusco di Sorbara (Villa di Corlo’s tart cherry-scented ‘09) and the deeper red Lambrusco dell’ Emilia (Camillo Donati’s organic fizz) available by the glass. Rarities like the 2005 Fontana dei Boschi from Modena are the liquid companions for a deep-toned duck liver mousse and manage to bridge the crespe, a horned pasta with lightly spiced tomato-and-shellfish sauce, and cappelletti with truffles and speck. There’s plenty more beyond the pasta and the Lambrusco (from porchetta to aged beef), but if you go to Morini, let the fizzy reds reign.
218 Lafayette St. (btw. Broome & Spring Sts.), New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2011.
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