Ristorante. It just sounds fancier.
Michael White's new Upper East Side duplex venture, Ristorante Morini, is a tiny bit like Osteria Morini, its Soho sibling, but here the rustic simplicity has been swapped for swank wood paneling, billowing chandeliers and Italian leather chairs.
The food gets a similar upgrade. No more platters of salumi and spit-roasted porchetta. Here the dishes are beautifully composed and tend toward indulgently luxurious ingredients; an entire section of the menu is devoted to caviar.
Handmade agnolotti ($27) filled with beef shank are reminiscent of White's homier dishes, but the celery root and a red wine reduction elevate it above standard red-sauce fare. And a pine nut tart ($14) was a surprise charmer, its chewy (in a good way) filling given a shot of sweetness by honey-ricotta gelato.
"It's like a restaurant you would find in Milan," White says, which sounds about right.
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