Spring is finally here in New York. G and I took off for a stroll in the city this afternoon. We decided to do that thing we’ve always wanted to do: End up in a locality with tonnes of restaurants, a decent appetite and no specific place to go to. And then walk. And check menus out, as we do. And figure where we want to eat at. So, by the time we’re at a restaurant where the menu pleases our brains, we’re sufficiently hungry. And by the time the food arrives, we’re starved.

We were in Greenwich Village and walked pass a wired fence filled with tiles that had been painted. Here’s a snap of G by it.

We stopped by Morandi’s for a late late late lunch. It was 4pm.

Morandi Restaurant
211 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10014

It’s this quaint Italian restaurant, with a brick wall at the bar, wooden struts for the ceiling, yellow paint (where you can see any) and a laid back atmosphere. Yes, it’s upscale. You can tell, in spite of the leisure in the air.

I liked the napkins they had laid out at the table. They were reminiscent of the Ramu Kaka from Bollywood movies. And with my bacon-collared tee, as G likes to call it, I played the part pretty well.

But it's an organic tee... and so comfy!!!

A corner of the restaurant featured a shelf/rack, whatever you’d like to call it, with fresh baked bread. This is what was served to us with the olive oil and some sea salt for dipping.

Loaves of bread baked at the restaurant

Just a random piece of information that somebody shared with me a few weeks ago: In food-tasting, for instance, for the judges on competitions on The Food Network, bread is used to cleanse the palette between courses.

G's fish face, when he drinks water... Heehee

Back to Morandi.

Googling revealed Morandi is owned by a certain Keith McNally who is quite a celebrated restauranteur in NYC. Oooh! Look how cool and rich we are! (NOT!)

I’ve mentioned before that G and I (err… well… more me, less him) are totally into different types of cheese these days. He enjoys them, yes. But I usually insist on ordering. Tee hee. So we got a cheese plate. Assorted Formaggi, it seems. I couldn’t help breaking into a giggle over the Omelette du Fromage episode of Dexter’s Laboratory. Of course, now, that’s French. And Morandi entirely Italian. But you see the similarity.

So, here’s what we got on the Cheese Plate:
Ricotta di Bufala
Pecorino Gregoriano
Parmigiano Reggiano

Your truly, trying to be a cheese-pro, tried to identify the cheese and even thought she had done a good job (because she didn’t have the menu at hand). She got home and took a look at the menu, only to realize how wrong she was. Well, I knew the Parmigiano Reggiano and the Ricotta were right. You’ve got to be a little slow, to not identify those. I thought the Robiola was, in fact, Gruyere and the Pecorino Gregoriano was Gourmandise with a Cherry flavour.

Here’s the post-mortem report.
The picture of the cheese plate shows the Parmigiano Reggiano at 11 o’clock. Moving clockwise from there is the Pecorino Gregoriano, the Robiola and ending at the Ricotta at 8 o’ clock.

Robiola is an Italian soft-ripened cheese, made with varying proportions of cow’s, goat’s milk and sheep milk. There are several stories as to how the name of this cheese came about. You can find more information on the wiki page for Robiola. It is usually eaten on its own, or with a little honey. The honey bit, I found strange, because the Ricotta was served with honey. And obviously, I wasn’t wrong in identifying the Ricotta. I thought the Pecorino Gregoriano was the Gourmandise because it came with the pinkish jam like thingy, which took me back to a little bit of reading I had done after my visit to French Roast – two types of Gourmandise, walnut and cherry. Anyway, turns out Pecorino Gregoriano is made from sheep milk and has a creamy, soft texture. It is also well known for its unique acidic flavour. Did you know Parmigiano Reggiano is known as the “king of cheese”? Oh! You HAVE TO read the wiki page!!! (HERE) Especially the part where they explain the process of how the cheese is made. It’s made from raw cow’s milk. Raw milk from a cow. What IS raw milk? Anyway. I was just saying, I like my pasta with the cheese grated over it. But not a whole big chunk served in this fashion. It’s hard and errr, strong! It’s tasty, no doubt. But not in excess. Sigh! It DID make for a good cheese plate though. And a big fat paragraph on the blog.

G ordered a focaaccia with a fancy name. It was a really long, hand-stretched bread, laid out on a wooden plate and baked on it… with a cheese called scamorza, similar to mozzarella and made from cow’s milk… apples, some walnut pesto and ham. It was good. Real good. Even better than the pasta I ordered, which I shall get to in a bit. I LOVED how the apple imparted a mild sweet and almost tart flavour to the bread. Oooh, and the walnut pesto rocked! Totally.

I ordered some linguini with clams. A very basic recipe. The linguini tossed in white wine and olive oil and some green garlic. It was definitely good. But not as awesome as G’s food. 🙂

What we ordered:
Focaccia scamorza e speck
Linguine alle vongole
Formaggi Assortment
Drip Coffee

We ended the meal with some drip coffee, while we made some really good conversation. It had been a while.

Drip Coffee

Now, the place isn’t exactly cheap. Given that it’s Greenwich village. But I think we’ve gotten used to spending about $30-$35 per person, of late.

We paid $54.16, plus gratuity.

The walk back was beautiful. Great weather. And a few pretty things on the way. Here’s a notice board, with some random squiggles that quite looked like a jazz musician with a saxophone. Crazy art, of a kind.

And real quick, before I end the post, my verdict on Morandi:

Ambience: 9/10, on a warm Spring day
Service: 7/10
Food: 8/10
Over all: 8/10


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