Osteria Morini’s signature polpettine, or meatballs. Photograph by Ted Axelrod.
New York–based toque Michael White, who’s behind such lauded Italian restaurants as Marea and Ai Fiori, just announced today that he’ll be opening his first Washington venture in summer 2013. The concept, a spinoff of his more casual Soho eatery, Osteria Morini, is slated for a 4,250-square-foot space in the Lumber Shed, a developing retail pavilion at the Yards Park.
A representative for Osteria Morini confirmed that White will bring a near-replica of his original Soho location to DC, with the same hearty dishes from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where White worked for seven years. Meals can be served family-style, with multiple pastas and platters of grilled steaks and sausages to share, or individually. The lineup changes seasonally, but pastas could include truffled ricotta ravioli with prosciutto, lasagna verde, prosciutto and mortadella meatballs baked in tomato sauce, and oven-baked polenta with mushrooms and sausage ragu. While the region’s cuisine is traditionally meat-heavy, White will introduce more seafood items for the waterfront location, perhaps borrowing a favorite from Marea: whole branzino baked in a salt crust, served with simple arugula salad and lemon.
The rustic, warm decor from the Soho and recently opened New Jersey locations will also be translated to Washington, though this third spot is the only one with water views. Look for lunch and dinner service to begin at opening. And if Osteria Morini DC is anything like the boisterous, constantly packed spot in New York, book early and book often.