On a Tuesday night, Osteria Morini is a madhouse. Boisterous parties of well-heeled New Yorkers crowd into the restaurant’s every corner, overflowing over the bar and into a deceptively deep dining room. The restaurant seems to swell with the collective flesh crammed into its crevices, threatening to burst onto Prince Street. Not surprisingly, Michael White’s latest project has proved popular; just how popular is a bit shocking. Osteria Morini now poses one of New York’s greatest reservation challenges; opening week, the gatekeepers turned away around 250 guests at the door. Luckily, one of my gracious friends in “the industry” (a brief aside: if another anxious waitress asks me whether I’m in “the industry,” I think I’m going to snap) managed to secure a reservation, for five no less. In such a large group, I sampled an impressive range of the menu in one sitting. As expected from a Michael White restaurant, the food feels joyful, candid, and free from manipulation. Served in such a sincerely kitschy setting, the fare attracts both the hip and the seeking-hipness. Still, Osteria Morini never devolves into an unpleasant exercise in New York restaurant cool; instead, it is a place to enjoy the company of friends, preferably those with whom little idle conversation is necessary—the acoustic effect of Osteria Morini is best described as riotous. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: October 2010
Zach B., Yale University
Billing itself as “Cuban cuisine and more,” Soul de Cuba Café has a tall order to fill. In its name, the restaurant claims to embody the soul of Cuba. I had to find out if the food backs up the name.
Lost on the Tour de Hamdel? Click here to find out more. Last time I had the Nuts & Bolts.
The Undergrad—lean hot corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, onions, and mustard on a toasted hero—seduced me. Continue reading
Nathan S., Macalester College
The field assignment for my Regional Geography of Latin America class was to investigate vibrant Latin American immigrant communities in the Twin Cities. Out of the twelve possible sites, I chose the closest one to campus: El Norteño, a Mexican restaurant about a 20 minute bike ride from Macalester. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, my friend and I hopped on our bikes and set off across the Mississippi River and into Minneapolis. Continue reading
Joy D., Wellesley College
Lemon Thai is not on the list of “50 Things to Do Before You Graduate”, but that’s only because you don’t have to try to get Lemon Thai take-out; it will inevitably come to you. This may be shocking news, but sometimes a college student gets hungry after 10pm. Sometimes, she gets tired of dining hall food, and sometimes, she just craves take-out. Whether it is an evening meeting, a party, or a late night in general, after the halls close Wellesley students know the number to call.
Josh B., University of Virginia
As a person of the Jewish faith more than acquainted with my religion’s brunch cuisine, I do not take the consumption of bagels lightly. In fact, it took an entire semester last year before building up the courage to enter Bodo’s Bagels on the Corner and ordering a single everything bagel for 70 cents. I remember biting into that bagel and instantly regretting two things: waiting an entire semester to try Bodo’s…and only ordering one bagel. Continue reading
Zach B., Yale University
In New Haven, Indian restaurants abound, offering lunch buffets and dinner specials attempting to entice Yale students and city residents. At first glance, these restaurants seem interchangeable, none distinguished from the others. A few blocks off Yale’s campus near Chapel and Howe St., restaurants cluster, trying to attract attention and customers. Around this area, I noticed that one restaurant, India Palace, offers an all you can eat lunch buffet for ten dollars, so I decided to check it out.
My first time going undercover, I felt like a teenager going to his junior prom: a little sweaty, definitely nervous, and anxious to make the right impression. But instead of asking the girl out and meeting the parents, I was making a dinner reservation and meeting the hostess. On the phone, I played it cool, used my especially endearing and seductively honest voice—what could this young man have to hide? “I’d like a table for four on October 16th at 7:00 p.m.” I said confidently. “Can I have your name please?” “Radfurd,” I answered, a name I randomly invented hours before. “Can I have your first name as well?” “Aaron.” Also part of the original plan. “And may I ask who you’re affiliated with?”
Time stopped, and adrenaline poured into my bloodstream, heartbeat quickening, breathing shallow, alert and ready for attack from some primordial beast. Where did I go wrong? With what blundering phrase did I tip off this reservationist that I intended much more than a relaxed Friday night on the town with friends? “No one, I’m just a private citizen,” I stammered, taken completely by surprise. She told me to hold, and I waited for her verdict. “I’m sorry, we’re doing preview dinners through the 14th and I was confused,” she said. Disaster averted, I gave the woman one of my friend’s cellphone numbers for confirmation and hung up, utterly relieved.
Last spring, I wrote a decidedly a negative review of Tom Colicchio’s then new restaurant, Colicchio & Sons. Following a smidgen of media coverage and a tongue-in-cheek tweet from Insatiable Critic Gael Greene, Colicchio responded to my review. His vituperative message seemed clear enough: college students, college critics for that matter, have no inkling about food or restaurant reviewing. For more details about this escapade, click here, here, and here.
After the Tom Colicchio debacle, I assumed that the doors of any Colicchio restaurant would remain shuttered to me in perpetuum. I avoided ‘wichcraft, stayed away from Craft, and made joking excuses to escape return visits to Colicchio & Sons. This October, however, Colicchio opened a new spot, Riverpark. I knew that I needed to visit, both to see whether Colicchio’s latest creation might surpass his disastrous last and to resolve a nagging tension in my psyche. Entering the lair of the beast, I might do battle with the (imagined) monster within and unmask him to my mind’s eye. I also might enjoy a delicious dinner. Continue reading
Caleb P., New England Conservatory
In previous posts, this blog has mentioned many excellent restaurants that deliver satisfying food while still keeping prices low. In today’s economy, students should be prudent and save money wherever they can—except, that is, when a certain restaurant serves food so exceptional, so well-presented, and so mind-engaging that to not experience it once would be a truly poor use of funds. L.A. Burdick, a chocolate boutique in Harvard Square, is such an example. Continue reading
Got questions about the Tour de Hamdel? Click here for answers. Last time, I had the Oh Barbara.
Apparently, everything on the Internet isn’t true. I typically use MenuPages to research the ingredients in my Hamdel sandwiches. Unfortunately, MenuPages misinformed me about the Nuts & Bolts. No, that sandwich is not chicken cutlet and eggplant parmigiana as that lying website might insinuate. Although the Nuts & Bolts does feature a breaded chicken cutlet—a surprisingly moist and tender one at that—eggplant parmigiana appears missing. Instead, grilled eggplant graces this hero, along with onions, bell peppers, satisfyingly stretchy mozzarella, and a liberal dose of marinara sauce. Continue reading