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I had dinner with friends at Osteria Morini this evening, the Italian joint at "Yard Park" on the right bank of the Eastern Branch between Nationals Park and the Navy Yard. I hadn't been down to that part of town since all of the development of the park and the ballpark, and it's really very interesting and pretty cool. The restaurant is sleek and appealing, though rather uncomfortably noisy. There's extensive outdoor seating, though, which during nice weather, such as we had tonight, is probably very nice, and much quieter than the restaurant indoors. While my friends and I were dining indoors, I was silently wishing we had taken seats outdoors; oh well, perhaps next time. I totally loved the food. My favorite bits: Exquisite, wonderful lardo, very thin slices in a curly tangle, with little slices of toasted bread, just fantastic. I asked the server where it came from, and she said Emilia Romagna, which is a pretty vague answer, but with every morsel I ate I felt closer to heaven (which my cardiologist might agree with, if he believes in an after-life). Charred octopus with "red rice salad": I was less crazy about the red rice salad, which I didn't quite understand, than the octopus itself, which was sumptuously excellent. The lardo and the octopus were the big winners of the evening, to me, but we had a lot of other things that were also smashing. Buttered spinach. Crostini with: smoked trout and goop, which was very nice; finely diced beets and goop, which was also very nice; and a melange of mushrooms and goop, which was rather strangely sweet, and the only dish of the night that I disliked. I had a dish of bucatini with crab and sea urchin, which I adored, and which of course ended up spackling my brand-new white dress shirt, as bucatini will do. There were some other things. Asparagus, which was nice. I forget what else. This place serves up some wonderful food, and the servers do their jobs very well. I recommend it.
I couldn't find any postings on this place, so if there is a topic, mods, please move! Big space in the Yards development, open for lunch and dinner, decorated like Regent Thai. This is one metro stop from us, and when I get the itch for Thai and can't get to the burbs, this will scratch the itch adequately. If you want something other than typical bar food before or after a Nats game, you could do worse. The spicing was fairly aggressive, in a good way. Staff seems nice, if a bit distracted. After your meal, you can walk along the river on the extraordinary path from Navy Yard to Nats Stadium. This is not relevatory food, but it's a nice addition to the 'hood and perfectly convenient for those of us in the food wasteland that is Southwest.