Restaurant Week: Ristorante Morini

Ristorante Morini has been on my Restaurant Week list for a while – but like all other Altamarea restaurants, they only offer lunch so I would definitely need to wait for a summer Friday to go. Located in the Upper East Side just steps away from Central Park, Ristorante Morini is quiet, unassuming, but a true gem in the Altamarea Group. We arrived a bit early for our reservation but they sat us anyways. We opted to sit on the upper level, which was brightly lit with natural light and perfect for some food picture-taking!

Their Restaurant Week menu offers 3 options for both appetizers and entrees and 2 options for dessert. There is also a nice selection of wine pairings by the glass available for a $10 supplement. I’m never disappointed with any of the wine pairing options for an Altamarea restaurant so I opted for a glass of their Rosé, which was very refreshing on the hot, muggy day – a perfect Rosé for the summer!

For our appetizers, we both opted for the Quaglia, or grilled quail with creamy farro and radish and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.  I quite enjoyed my appetizer – the quail was tender and juicy. The farro was creamy and soaked up the flavors of the balsamic vinegar and quail very well.

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For my entrée, I opted to go for the Pork Lion, which features slow-roasted pork loin with a summer peach marmalade and pancetta. I am a sucker for anything with summer peaches so I was instantly drawn in, despite my original plan to try the pasta since I love Altamarea pasta dishes. The pork lion was cooked thoroughly but not tough at all. The peach marmalade and pancetta paired really well together since it was sweet and salty at the same time with each bite.

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My mom ordered the Orata, or grilled sea beam with stewed leeks, gem lettuce, and bagna cauda. I think I might have liked her dish better than mine! The sea beam was very well cooked – almost melt-in-your-mouth tender. I particularly liked the bagna cauda, which is similar to a creamy cheese sauce or fondue, since it gave the fish a more “wet” mouth feel.

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For dessert, we both decided on the Tiramisu, which was presented in a slice of layers of lady fingers soaked in amaretto and espresso and topped with marscapone mousse. The tiramisu was phenomenal – slightly sweet but mostly bitter and fragrant from the espresso. I wish there was more!

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Service was attentive without being intrusive. Our courses arrived in a timely manner and were very well paced. I will definitely be back outside of Restaurant Week to try out their pasta dishes and other desserts!

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