You enter Morandi and you feel as if you are walking into an Italian country dining room. Small intimate wooden tables and chairs. Open front with tables flowing out on the street but covered by the awning to watch the rain fall. The vibe is great but the noise is deafening. Even though the tables are small and you can literally reach across the table to touch your dining partner, you can barely communicate. That would be the only downfall because the food is delicious.
Our friends had already ordered a tid bit to start. Toasted Italian bread smothered with a whipped ricotta, pesto and sun dried tomatoes. Smooth and creamy but a little heavy on the garlic for me.
We had two great wines from Sardinia. Our new favorite area for wine. The sommelier is from Sardinia too.
One of us ordered Jody Williams signature dish to begin. Fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese. Incredibly light and crispy. She has mastered this appetizer. Someone else had the grilled squid. I really liked how it was served. Tiny pieces of grilled squid cut up and mixed with tiny pieces of tomatoes, peppers and chilis. There is a zip to this dish which is like having a chopped salad. Two of us went with the octopus which is served with crunchy pieces of celery and sliced olives. Well done and delicious.
For dinner, everyone had something different. One of us had the chicken with chilies and lemon. Really like this dish. The spices are heavy handed which works and the chicken is incredibly moist. The mushroom raviolis were simple. Stuffed pasta with a mixture of mushrooms and a mushroom cream sauce. Good and not overly heavy but the least favorite. Nobody had the meatballs which are also a signature dish served with pine nuts and raisins. Someone had the hanger steak which really tasty served over a polenta. I might order that when I go back. I had the whole fish. The perfect size, juicy and full of flavor served alongside a small bowl of braised escarole. We had spinach and asparagus on the side.
Dessert seemed inevitable based on the meal. Sweet sliced peaches served with a rich thick marscapone cream, hot tasty cinnamon beignets (good thing we only had a small plate because I could have eaten a handful) and tiny biscotti with a sweet wine.
All and all a delicious meal. Initial reviews weren’t that favorable but the kitchen seems to finally be humming. I will return to Morandi again for dinner or lunch and might even try the new hours for breakfast. I just wish they could do something about the noise.