My wife was recently browsing around the Instagram foodporn landscape when she came across this image of a massive rib eye:
I was immediately intrigued when she shared it with me, but I kind of just put it on the mental list of places that I needed to try. Like any fool who is just looking at photos and not actually READING captions, I missed the integral part of what was going on and why my thoughtful wife sent it to me:
120 fucking days?!?? Wow. So a few days go by and I get this frantic text from my wife: “GET YOUR CAMERA AND MEET ME AT OSTERIA MORINI TONIGHT AT 6PM!”
I responded. “Okay. Why, what’s going on?” Then she proceeded to explain to me the details of what I had glanced over a few days earlier. She’s a very patient person. I do this often, apparently. But my mouth dropped. She had secured us one of the seven 52oz, 120-day dry-aged Pat Lafrieda/Creekstone Farms rib eyes just a week or two in advance of our 7-year wedding anniversary. They only offer them on the first Wednesday of every month, so scheduling is limited. Anyway, I ran home and got my camera, because we were about to celebrate with the best steak we’d ever eaten.
The steak is not trimmed of any excess fat, and the bone is left with all the meat still attached prior to cooking, as you can see in the Instagram photo above. This is ideal when dry-aging, because eventually you have to trim off the outer bark and you inevitably lose some meat when that happens. Better that it be fat and gristle than your spinalis dorsi. Even still, this particular cut is still left with tons of surrounding meat and tenderized fat. Ours came out to the table pre-sliced, beautifully plated and ready for gorging:
Everything is edible on this. Even the fat breaks down into a really delicious beef jelly after that much time aging.
The cap was truly something to behold. Packed with tons of flavor and so fucking tender. As for the eye (longissimus dorsi), just take a look at this perfectly cooked masterpiece of a slice:
I half expected something so funky and nutty that it would almost be unrecognizable as steak, and more akin to blue cheese. But it was mild and pleasant, not so robust that it became odd tasting, like what can happen with some long aging processes. This was just right. I was smiling the entire time. This is the best steak I’ve ever eaten. 10/10.
But let’s not brush aside the other great Italian cuisine going on here at Osteria Morini. The bar has a great selection of Italian-inspired cocktails that are really unique and interesting.
The atmosphere is home-ish and comfortable. It’s warm and inviting, with lots of wood tones.
By 8:30pm the lights had dimmed significantly and the place was wall-to-wall jammed. The food is so great, it is no wonder why. But when you take the stellar service into consideration, a packed house becomes a no-brainer. GM Phillip Buttacavoli made us feel very much at home, and all employees from servers, to kitchen staff, to bartenders were really helpful, pleasant and nice.
The foccacia table bread was warm, toasty and nicely seasoned.
We started with the stracci pasta: long, wide ribbons of egg-forward pasta with a braised wild mushroom sauce and rosemary oil.
Perfectly cooked, and delicious through and through. The other pasta dishes all sounded great too. I will definitely be back to survey more of those selections.
The steak, which was a very fair $145, came with our choice of two sides as well. We went with the parmigiano roasted asparagus and the parmigiano fingerling potatoes.
The asparagus reminded me of the kind my mother used to make. Very simply cooked but with parmigiano over the top to add in some salt and flavor. And the potatoes were perfectly crunchy and nicely seasoned all around.
For dessert, we tried the gianduja budino: a baked chocolate and hazelnut custard with candied hazelnuts, brown butter and salted chocolate cake crumbles.
I loved it. It had just the right amount of sweet and savory to strike a great balance. They even gave us some complimentary glasses of saffron and cardamom amaro to go with the dessert.
We ended up using a great Gilt City deal on this meal. My wife paid something like $145 for $200 worth of credit to apply to the bill at pretty much any Altamarea Group restaurant (except for Marea). That left us with a little bit to cover at the end.
What a fantastic meal. I can’t wait to go back!
218 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012