Due Terre, Bernardsville to become Osteria Morini
Came across this note on Eater. Anyone have more details?
None yet, but I drive by frequently. I didn't even know that Due Terre closed. It was one of my favorite places to eat. Hope the new place is as good.
This would be great news if it is like Osteria Morini in NYC as the menu really appeals to me there. Just hope they don't tone down ingredients to appease the NJ crowd ( like Due Mare seemed to do when they took the Fusili with Octopus off the menu...)
Excited to try it as the Due Terre menu never appealed to me enough to make the trip, though we do enjoy Due Mare for an Italian fix.
Well that is certainly good news. While I had no problems with the restaurant being tucked away in the corner, I am sure that more street exposure will be good for them. Plus, it won't look like they are in an abandoned parking lot. Perhaps they'll have room for some outside dining - that would be nice.
They will actually be opening as Osteria Morini on Friday Feb 3rd, closed on the 5th but open daily for dinner from Monday Feb 6th on.
This phase of renovations did not include the expansion into the shop rite next door, that will be completed in the summer.
This renovation included eliminating the "two staged flooring", the restaurant is all now on one level, giving it a more casual feel, pricing will reflect the new casual setting of the Osteria - some of the Due Terre menu will be held over but most of it will come from Osteria Morinini in New York
Same owner, same managers, 80% of floor people are the same.
We will be going there next week and will give a report
I drove by today and noticed the new sign outside for the first time. I tripped out initially - Morini in Soho is a favorite of mine for casual Italian comfort food (excellent pastas). However, Michael White's name was also associated with Due Terre and it wasn't NY caliber. Hopefully this is a duplicate of the Soho location. I'm extremely excited for the potential here!
OK we have now had two dinners and one take out from OM plus have had feedback from neighbors and some of the other restaurant owners in the area.
I was hoping to pop into OM in Soho so I could make an equivalent discussion but that has not happened and is not on the horizon over the next few weeks so sorry to the OM Soho fans but I cannot do a compare.
First – the space – what a dramatic change. The restaurant has gone from elegant to casual, the ceiling is now exposed with industrial painted light fixtures hung in black from teh high ceiling. The booths are gone, the step up to the dining room from the bar is gone, it is just one big open dining area with 4 top tables painted in rustic tones.
The tables are unusually high – I like it but I am a big person. The table next to us the first night was complaining and in speaking with the dining room manager he is debating raising the chairs or lowering the tables. The tables are high as they each have extensions in them so the room can be configured to handle pretty much any size party. The bar area has been redone with a beautiful deep white marble bar, same length just broader. Same open kitchen in the back but a huge and what have must have been outrageously expensive pizza oven in the corner.
No tablecloths - paper napkins are used , but high quality paper napkins. Water glasses and wine glasses are the same round ones from Due Terre, and all the place settings and cutlery create a modern mix that integrates with the rustic theme to the tables and wall hangings to make a very appealing setup, albeit it different than before and wow have I heard Due Terre regulars complain about that.
OK the food – overall it is exceptional. Starting with the best focacia I have had outside of Italy.
The bread is crispy with a toasted olive oil snap that gives way to melt in your mouth layered semolina bread that is enough to have me at that bar a few times a week with a nice glass of Chianti. The menu is pretty simple, salads, pastas, pizzas and a few meat and fish dishes. So far the pizza and the lasagna were both the best we have had - The lasgana and all of these type of foods have a different take on classic “red sauce” Italian restaurants.
The primary difference is the lack of sauce, very minimal on teh pizzas and teh pasta and the pasta on the lasagna is obviously homemade and enveloped with cheese and spinach - really a great dish. My wife likes traditional Italian and when she asked for more red suace there was not a problem and a huge bowl of rich marinara was immediately brought over.
The elephant ear pasta in a mushroom sauce provided a huge bowl of chewy homemade pasta with a rich mushroom sauce with 5 different types of mushrooms. The branzino was fresh, grilled over arugula and fennel in a truffle balsamic. The chicken was relatively the same dish as Due Terre’s old chicken – great news as that was one of the best chicken dishes in the state – pan roasted flat to a salty, crispy perfection in an au jus that is a leftover that had to stay on the menu according to the owner.
Prices are much lower than before but not cheap - $18 to 24 for pizza; $22 to $34 for meat and fish. The salads were ok and we never tried the deserts.
The wine list is the same as Due Terre, great selection of Italian red and white wines and a list of 10 by the glass, all reasonably priced.
All in all a great place - I am not sure if it will meet its mark of attracting families and a broader audience than Due Terre. The objective is to see if they can fill the spot up early with families and later with the townspeople who support all the high quality restaurants in the area.
I give them credit for trying something new and testing out the market. If they could not increase their covers there is no way they could afford the expansion into the old supermarket next door they wnat to accomlish this summer.
I really believe if they did they would find the their audience anyway, the biggest limitation has always been the location that is impossible to see from Rt 202.
As a long time Due Terre fan I am quite pleased, not sure if everyone will agree – I know quite a few who do not.
On a side note the place is being called locally either ”the old due terre” or the place “with the unpronounceable name” . But it is packed each night so far, impossible to get in on a Friday or Saturday night – but let’s see how it fairs as it stops being the shiny new coin everyone wants to see