Lest our Chodoblog coverage cloud your brain, let us remind you of the other story of import this week. Last night was the first night of public dinner service at McNally's West Village Italian, Morandi. Eater had, of course, made a reservation for 6:30pm. Two reports from Day One:
1) Eater: Our fever undiminished by our table's uncomfortable proximity to the parties at both our right and left, we ordered the polipetti e sedano (one grilled baby octopus with celery and black olives, for $14), the tagliata di manzo (sliced hangar steak served with a wedge of polenta, $26) and the spaghetti alle vongole (pasta with manila clams, garlic and parsley; $16). The chef, as you might recall, is Jody Williams, late of Gusto. Opening night issues aside (service a bit slow, waitstaff unfamiliar with the menu), we thought the dinner went rather smoothly. Pasta was nicely al dente, steak was cooked to order. A glance around the room didn't reveal too many famous faces, though we did catch sight of SNL's Andy Samberg. The place is pretty crowded with low wooden tables, a perilous situation for the big-boned. Overheard from a male diner to our left, "Right now, my legs are pressed into the bottom of this table." Really unlucky diners were seated at tables in the bar area near the door.
2) Gridskipper: "...Though expansive the atmosphere has something of a grotto in it: low ceilings, sturdy rafters, copper tabletops, wooden chandeliers...We spotted the manager from Pastis managing the floor and that mustachioed guy who looks like a young Bob Dylan from, until recently, Max's. The menu adheres to McNally's commitment to simplicity. Though extensive, one wouldn't call it inventive. And though rare, the dishes are nothing new. The Burrata Test, whereby a restaurant is judged on the quality of its burrata, is quickly surpassing the Bread/Olive Oil Test and McNally passed with flying colors. The burrata, like Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby, was slightly tough on the outside and only revealed its soft tender creamy center with effort...As far as wine goes, the list is extensive and a boon to adventurous drinkers. The gimmick here is that there is a glass of wine from each of Italy's 20 regions. [G'skip]
· McNally Compromises With Residents Over Morandi Sidewalk Cafe [NYC Blocks]
· Obligatory Morandi Post [Gothamist]
· Get a Leg Up on the Critics: Sample City Sicilian Before Morandi Opens [Cutlets]