It was great seeing a few of my friends last Friday night. We took to the subway and headed to the Upper East Side for dinner, drinks, laughs and to celebrate missed birthdays at Morso. On the recommendation of a friend's friend, we decided to try this place with empty stomachs and an open mind. Unfortunately, Morso was not participating in NYC's Restaurant Week* (hell, I did not even realize that was on).
*I adore the concept of Restaurant Week. I love that NYC Restaurants open their doors to people to afford to sample of what their establishment has to offer by tailoring a menu of some of their best selections for a three course prix fixe meal (usually). Truly not all selections are great for Restaurant Week, and some can be really hit or miss but there are gems waiting to be discovered at any number of great places in NYC one may otherwise have not been able to try due to pricing restrictions.
It was a bit of a walk from the N train station stop to the restaurant but for such a pleasant evening in NYC walking with my sister, it was doable. Really, it was not that much of a haul and the walk back with every one in our group after dinner was relaxed and made the time go faster. All of that is part of the experience and it was a good one at that. This is especially true when there were so many interesting stores along the way including a wig shop with some fabulous pieces in the window.
Upon arrival at Morso, our friend Alex was sitting at the bar having a drink. I mean, of course she was, no surprise there! The bar and the inside portion of the restaurant was inviting and casual. The hostess was extremely friendly in a commanding sort of "kick back and relax and talk about anything yet business" sort of manner but definitely the sort of woman you could probably hang out with ease.
We opted to sit outside that evening and the patio set up was surrounded by lovely green, well-kept hedges and various plants. The area was not too cramped and it never felt like everyone was on top of each other between tables. It also never got too noisy or at the very least, maybe we were the ones making the noise with our laughter to notice anyone else. I don't believe that's the case but generally, everyone around seemed to be having a great time at their respective tables.
All that said, this is a foodie adventure and so onwards to the pictures of food!
One other note about Morso, our waiter was a pleasant, funny man. He was trading stories with us about celebrities he met and he made the night even more interesting. Sadly he could not take our invitation to pull up a chair to join us to continue in his amusing conversations as he was working but not only was he friendly to our group of 5 but he was attentive as well. Most of the staff were, honestly and did so without being an annoyance.
Warm choux pastry was provided as the bread to start. So light and airy. I can see how this is greatness to some but I really missed some cheese paste in it and chicken salad. Ha, that's just how I'm used to having it but here it was served with a very light whipped buttery goodness spread.
Okay, maybe it did not taste like much and the choux pastry held all the flavour and this did nothing for it really. So in a way, it was just a nice soft bite to have before hand and was more for the experience (and filler) and not the taste so much.
This particular appetizer of a fried green tomato slice on a salad was quite yummy though disappointing in that it was not to be shared with a group. It was misleading in its description but as a single appetizer for someone, it works better.
Here we had some asparagus and mushrooms in a vinagrette. I loved these as they were so flavourful, not acidic on the vinagrette and the mushrooms were delightfully tasty. Mushrooms: made for kicking and eating.
Rigatoni Buttera:home-made pasta, hot & sweet sausage, peas, tomatoes, touch of cream. My friend, The Active Goat, ordered this one. I contemplated getting it for that touch of cream but my choice of pasta will always be a spaghetti or linguine. I don't know, maybe it's just my Chinese blood like that likes my noodles to look like Chinese Noodles. Ha. It makes absolutely no sense, I am well aware. Though, with pastas like Rigatoni, the potential for a tomato based sauce to get all up in the kool-aid is strong. And seeing as I am not fond of tomato based sauces usually, that's more likely what my deal is.
Though you know, I would have put aside my bias for this. This right here was an amazing bite when I sampled. Nothing about it was salty, the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the cream just made it extra delicious to go along with the sweet meat that were those sausages.
Bucatini Cacio e Pepe: pasta with pecorino cheese, black pepper sauce. This was the Swan's meal. It sounds pretty simple, right? What I wouldn't give to eat this right now... I'm going to be tossing around "perfectly cooked" every single time I mention their pasta but damn it, they really know how to cook pasta. And the pasta itself is tasty as all hell, the black pepper was in no way overpowering but complemented the pecorino amazingly well.
Spaghetti con vongole in ragu: spaghetti with a ragout of white clams out of shell, white wine & garlic sauce. This is what I had for my meal. Every bite was perfect. Again with the pasta on its al dente state. The addition of the slivers of zucchini were beautiful for colour and added a bit of texture.
The clams also worked well here for adding texture and an extraordinary taste to the light flavours in this dish. I couldn't be happier with this choice.
For dessert we got a chocolate cake mousse, a slice of lemon cheesecake and a peach tart with a caramel sauce and 3 milk gelato that was divine - it sat on a buttery pastry that was melt in your mouth worthy.
The Chocolate cake was pretty good and quite rich - surely a chocolate lover's dream (but I've no real desire for chocolate so there's that) - it was my least favourite. Still, quite yummy though.
It may not look like much but this slice of cheesecake was so fluffy and lemony, it was fantastic. Along with the berry preserves to cut the slight tartness of the lemon, it was actually quite refreshing a dessert.
And so, I'd definitely recommend this place and would love to go back at some point in the future. A casual atmosphere with brilliant and "seemingly" simple food along with great company made this a great night.
420 E. 59th St.
New York, NY
Website information right here.
The Original Article was published on August 9, 2013 on zarnyx.kinja.com. The article may be found at the following link: http://zarnyx.kinja.com/foodie-adventures-morso-yes-please-1084323275