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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Italian West Village Moderate Great

The Scene:
Craig and I, exterior of Morandi, corner of Waverly and Charles. A warm evening at the edge of winter creeping into spring.  A tall man in a suit stands outside the main doors of the restaurant, which has a rustic pale blond wood exterior and long, rectangular bistro windows.
“Good evening. Welcome to Morandi. Do you have a reservation?” he asks, holding a reservation list.

“Yes, Andrea Strong, for two?”

“Yes, yes, sure come in, enjoy your evening.”
We walk inside the promised land that is, for this New York minute at least, Morandi. The room is filled with a golden glow. The light comes from soft yellow linen wall sconces and matching wooden chandeliers that are hung on low wood-beamed ceilings. The walls are raw brick; the floors are Italian mosaic tile. Old farmhouse sideboards are topped with large wooden bowls of lemons and pears. The waiters are in white button down shirts and ankle-length burlap aprons. The effect is bistro-chic via the Italian countryside. The crowds are three-deep at the bar. There are handsome couples drinking cocktails, and groups of friends young and old sharing straw-bottomed jugs of wine. We are seated at a corner table set with dishtowel napkins, short squat juice glasses for wine and taller tumblers for water.

We open the menu. Chef Jody Williams’ signatures are apparent from the start—fried artichokes with lemon ($10), radishes in olive oil with anchovy and garlic ($5), Sicilian meatballs ($18), foccacia with gorgonzola, bosc pears and cracked pepper ($10). “Oh god, I don’t know what we’re gonna do here. I want everything on this menu,” I say, stressed that we may miss out on something great because there’s just the two of us. It’s taken a lot of calling to get this table and as it is we’re eating at 6pm and I have no idea when I’ll get in again so I want to eat it all. “What if we order a lot of things, so we get to try a lot but we promise not to finish everything on our plates so we don’t roll out of here?”
“You’ll get no argument from me,” Craig says, “Let’s do it.”

We start with a few cocktails to help us mak ... [more, click below]

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