Mario Batali may be one of the biggest names in Italian food in New York, but Michael White is giving him stiff competition as he builds up a collection of impressive restaurants, including Marea and Alto, two spots I've had great meals at. Now White adds Osteria Morini to that bunch. The Soho restaurant has been open less than a month and it's already a bit of a scene, crowded and noisy. The tables are close together and the tables along the wall awkwardly leave the outside diner in the way of traffic. Yet, the service is surprisingly pleasant (although perhaps not quite attentive enough as there were some minor problems). I was so pleased by the food that it trumped any issues on this evening.
There is a lot to choose from on the menu here, but you won't want to miss the pastas, which are White's strength at all his restaurants.
Although Osteria Morini might need to work on the desserts (an unexpected turn since the pastry chef is Heather Bertinetti, also of Marea), the dinner is still a wonderfully satisfying experience. Following in the steps of other newly opened places producing great food early on, (Serious Eats likens it to Locanda Verde and Maialino, others I love) I expect this reservation to just get harder to score.