At Ristorante Morini on the Upper East Side, the latest installment in Michael White’s bourgeoning empire, the vibe is decidedly fancier and the food more classically Italian but it is also uncommonly delicious. Mare Nostrum, for example, combines baby octopus, calamari, shrimp and scallops with saline sea beans and briny olives in a delicate broth spiked with colatura and a discreet touch of pepperoncino. And White’s rendition of carbonara finds a perfect balance between rusticity and refinement that would make even a hardened coal burner swoon (though they might wish the short housemade bucatini-like pasta was just a bit more al dente). And while beverage director Richard Anderson services the neighborhood with a list deep in Champagne and grand cru Burgundy, he’s also stuffed it full with unusual gems, like pignoletto from Emilia-Romagna and Dettori’s Ottomarzo, a plush red made from a rare Sardinian grape called pascale.
1167 Madison Ave. (btw. 85th & 86th Sts.), New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2014.
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