Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dinner at Morandi

Dinner at Morandi, Keith McNally's newest restaurant addition.

Morandi (named for the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi) has only recently opened yet it is unsurprisingly bustling with a smooth rhythm to it. McNally is the master of making a big space feel exclusive. The interior is lined with bricks and tiles and the ceilings are low. There are wine bottles all around and and it feels like you are eating in an age-old wine cellar. All this makes for a warm, cozy and rustic atmosphere. The crowd on this night was a sophisticated blend of uptown and down.

The first thing I sampled was the focaccia bread topped with Gorgonzola cheese, pears and honey. This was delicious and all of the flavors blended together seamlessly. I also sampled the Carciofi alla Giudia (fried artichokes). They were crisp, nutty and eating them transported me to Rome where the dish has its roots. For my main course I had mushroom risotto with blueberries. The blueberries added a pop to the well-executed dish.

The food at Morandi is hearty and the portion sizes are more than adequate. The rich chocolate budino with cherries and mascarpone cheese was the perfect decadent ending to the meal. Everything about the restaurant is signature Keith McNally. You could say it is Balthazar for Italophiles, which as eveyone knows (since its opening in 1997), set the standard for the French bistro in New York. Morandi has hit the ground running.

-Jordana Z.
Carciofi alla Giudia.
Mushroom risotto with blueberries.
Baked Buckwheat Pasta.
The menu and our friendly waiter.
Focaccia bread topped with Gorgonzola cheese, pears and honey.
The rustic, yet cozy dining room.