With all the negative chatter about Morandi, I wasn't sure what I was going to find when I met a friend there for lunch today. The only thing I knew going in was that Morandi chef Jody Williams is a very good Italian cook.
So it wasn't a total surprise that for the most part I had a very good meal. The gorgonzola and pear focaccia would make a fine light lunch all by itself. Add the fried artichokes, and you've got a great lunch for two.
Of course we had to keep ordering. Williams's meatballs, studded with raisins and pine nuts, remain cloudlike and deeply satisfying. The hangar steak was fairly ordinary, but the polenta that it was precariously perched atop was intensely flavorful.
Dessert was a trio of nifty mini-cannoli, fine housemade gelati, and terrific ricotta fritters that tasted like great Italian doughnuts. There was a minimum of attitude at the front desk, and, at least at this point, lunch is an utterly pleasant, relaxed experience. I'm sure dinner is another story entirely, with the scene-makers descending like a plague of locusts.
Address: 211 Waverly Place, New York NY 10014
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