Tag Archives: osteria

Osteria Morini

My wife was recently browsing around the Instagram foodporn landscape when she came across this image of a massive rib eye:

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Photo Credit: Osteria Morini: @OsteriaMorini on Instagram

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:

“BIG news. Literally. Tonight only we are serving 120 day dry aged Tomahawk Steak. It’s on a first come basis and there are only 7, so call to reserve yours now.”

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:

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Everything is edible on this. Even the fat breaks down into a really delicious beef jelly after that much time aging.

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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:

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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, and still a 10/10 on a second visit years later.

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.

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The atmosphere is home-ish and comfortable. It’s warm and inviting, with lots of wood tones.

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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.

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We started with the stracci pasta: long, wide ribbons of egg-forward pasta with a braised wild mushroom sauce and rosemary oil.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What a fantastic meal. I can’t wait to go back!

UPDATE 8/1/18

Had a bunch of pasta dishes, which were all excellent:

Octopus was really tender, and had a nice char on the outside.

Incredible “White Label Burger.” Custom Pat LaFrieda beef blend with tomato, speck aioli, and fontina cheese with sides of parmesan and parsley onion rings and fonduta.

And crispy breaded veal wrapped in prosciutto and covered with truffle cream sauce.

OSTERIA MORINI
218 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012

Osteria del Principe

Tabelog hosted another great food event, this time at Osteria del Principe, an Italian cured meat-centric spot down by the Flatiron building.

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The restaurant/store is the flagship location, and is run by Principe di San Daniele, a world class prosciutto manufacturer in Italy. So you know you’re getting top notch meats here when you eat.

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Tabelog invited a bunch of us ass-kicking NYC food bloggers and reviewers to mix and mingle while tasting some really nice meats and wines. Here’s a menu of things we tasted:

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As you can see from this sheet, we were asked to rate and judge the various sliced meats and wines:

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First I created a nice cushioned base with a bite or two of freshly baked focaccia bread:

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Here’s my second (or was it third?) plate of meat. I needed to try everything a few times to figure out my rankings.

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I ultimately put the truffle ham in first place, followed by the 20-month prosciutto and mortadella right behind. Then the 16-month prosciutto, with the speck being at the bottom. Surprising! That truffle ham really had an amazing flavor that wasn’t overpowering. It was a cured meat.

Here are some shots of the two ham slicings. The ones with the brownish edge is the rosemary ham, and the other is the truffle ham:

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This board has the speck on the left, and the mortadella on the right:

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As you can see, there was a fancy old fashioned hand crank meat slicer set up with the 20-month prosciutto.

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The slices were served in little paper cones:

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I really couldn’t get enough of those. So good: soft, not too salty, and really nicely flavored. One of the gents from the Gotham Burger Social Club fashioned one meat cone into a lapel flower for his suit jacket. Brilliant!

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So that was just the sliced meats that were laying around for our consumption. There was also a huge wheel of cheese that was being sliced/scraped and shoved into little brown paper bags for snacking. “Raspadura” Bella Lodi:

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The tomato and burrata caprese salad was refreshing and light, with a great herb kick:

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The prosciutto and melon was a perfect balance of sweet, savory and juicy all in one bite. These were amazing, not to mention gorgeously plated/presented:

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This polenta was wrapped with speck and then baked until crispy. Absolutely delicious! I need to try making this at home now:

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The grilled octopus skewers were a nice break from the pork overload. Wait.. is there even such a thing as pork overload? Anyway, they were warm and charred to a nice half-crisp texture, and accompanied by slices of grape tomato:

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The slices of Piadina (bread portion) with porchetta inside were really awesome too. Especially when topped with some of the freshly scraped cheese. This meat item may have been the best of the day. I almost wish it was showcased differently, because I feel like it got missed by some of the other bloggers.

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Lastly, the house-made tagliolino pasta was set in a light cream sauce and cooked with the 16-month prosciutto, then topped with a nice slice of it. Fucking amazing. The prosciutto was allowed to season the whole dish without any extras needed, other than some finely minced herbs and a little fresh pepper. So simple, yet so good.

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All around awesome meal, and I was happy because it was extremely meat-centric. The wines were pretty good too, specifically the Ribolla Nera, which was a red wine that had robust flavor but was still lighter on the palette.

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There were even some Italian cosmetic samples and creams handed out as parting gifts. I let my wife go for that. I was’t really interested.

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OSTERIA DEL PRINCIPE
27 E. 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010

Circo

Circo is a circus themed restaurant in midtown.

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I’d heard they served up a good burger. After scanning the menu there were a few other things that I wanted to try as well, like the braised beef cheek and sun dried tomato octopus. And that’s exactly what I tried.

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Oh shit, wait… that’s not the sun dried octopus. That’s some awesome octopus statue. Here’s the sun dried tomato octopus:

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It was definitely tasty and cooked correctly. Meaty and fulfilling, like Lexington Steele, I would imagine. I just didn’t get an incredible amount of sun dried tomato flavor.

I tried a bite of my friend’s order, which was the braised beef cheek. It was delicious, and if I go back, I’ll definitely be ordering that. It was big, saucy and tender. Since I didn’t grab a photo of that, I will give you a photo of this Moretti beer that I drank:

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Okay so on to my burger. At $24 I was expecting a bit more from this, but it was pretty good. It came with cheddar cheese and grilled onions.

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Instead of grilled onions, maybe fried onions would work better, to give it a little bit of texture. It did come with onion rings, which were mighty crisp, so I suppose one could stack this fucker up even higher to get that needed crunch. In any case the lettuce was fresh and crispy (romaine).

The toppings were neatly placed on the side, which included two slices of red onion, some romaine lettuce, two slices of tomato and a pair of gherkins. I think slices of actual pickle would have been the better bet, but hey. The bun was good. Not potato, but strong enough to take some abuse. The patty was cooked nicely. I think it just needed a little salt.

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The fries were super crispy. Almost too crispy at times, as were the two onion rings, but I did enjoy them.

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UPDATE 3/1/17

I came back here for a press dinner and tried a bunch of stuff.

Shrimp croquettes were amazing. Soft, savory, filled with seafoody greatness.

Pizzas are very thin and crisp. If that is your style, then you are very happy ordering these babies.

Nothing beats a plate of meat.

Far be it for me to say something nice about a salad, but this Caesar was excellent.

Mixed seafood plate:

The big stars of the show, though, were these pasta dishes. Bolognese, carbonara, confit duck ragu and clams.

Of these, I think the pappardelle with duck confit and the chitarra carbonara were the best.

Oh and some sage ravioli too – these were tasty.

Circo is also rolling out some cheese wheel cacio e pepe pastas in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for shit like this:

A buddy of mine tried the skirt steak. It was cooked nicely, seasoned well and had a good crisp on the outside. However it was served too cold. I give it a 7/10.

I shared a 30oz, 28-day dry aged Creekstone Farms t-bone steak with another friend. We ordered medium rare but it came out medium well to fully well done.

There was very little crust on this, although it was seasoned correctly. I was able to taste that dry-aged goodness here and there, but ultimately they ruined the steak, as the over-cooking rendered the texture dry and grainy. Another pair ordered the steak too, and it was also overcooked – just not as egregiously as ours. 5/10.

Another friend tried the lamb chops. These were tasty as well, but also similarly overcooked, unfortunately.

I guess the kitchen needs a little refresher on how to properly cook red meat proteins. But those pasta dishes are amazing.

On the side, we tried creamed spinach, asparagus, mushrooms and potatoes. All were good.

Dessert was nice too. Cannolis, bread pudding, apple tart and bombolini. Also all good.

CIRCO
120 W. 55th St.
New York, NY 10019