New Kid on the Block: Morsi

Morsi signWhen Vip Manchanda took over as primary owner of Brick in February, where he had been general manager and an investor, he soon made plans to rethink it. Even though the new restaurant, Morsi (Italian for “bites”), has the same layout and the same number of seats (around 80), it feels much more stylish.

“We’re going for elegant simplicity,” he says. “A place that’s not uptight, pretentious, or stuffy. You don’t want to pay $21 for a cocktail—there’s enough of that in Tribeca.” He can say that, having lived here for six years before recently moving to Dumbo.

The food is more ambitious, too. Chef Kenneth Johnson, who was most recently at Pescatore on the Upper East Side, is probably best known these days for being on the TV show “Chopped” last year. “This is his version of Italian,” says Manchanda. “We’re taking traditional dishes and twisting them a bit.” As an example, he points to the Parmagiana section on the menu, where the three varieties include one with duck and taleggio and one with lobster fra diavolo and squid-ink linguine (as well as one with chicken and mozzarella).

There are no TVs above the bar (which is staffed by a genial group); there’s no delivery or takeout. “Food, drinks, company,” is the guiding principle, says Manchanda. “We really want to focus on the dining experience.” Morsi will likely serve lunch at some point, while brunch is being debated. They’re thinking about possibly offering food-based classes on weekends. And renovations on the event space downstairs will start soon.

The goal is to be a neighborhood restaurant, and Morsi is certainly being neighborly: The wine list was designed by New York Vintners across the street.

Note: Morsi pronounced mohr-see, and it has been added to the Tribeca Pronunciation Guide. Also, the food photos below are courtesy Morsi.

Morsi is at 22 Warren (between Church and Broadway), 212-577-2725;

Morsi facadeMorsi barMorsi bar2Morsi banquetteMorsi garden wallMorsi - Spaghetti PomodoroMorsi - FarroMorsi wine and beer by glassRecent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
Church Street Tavern
Tribeca’s Kitchen
White Street
EGG by Susan Lazar
Barre Tribeca
Café Noir
Pi Bakerie
Washington Market Tavern
Macaron Café
Grand Banks

1 Comment

  1. I have never written an unfavorable review, but this was one of the worst meals in terms of service and the food was not that best either.

    1. We come in and the host was on a phone call for a good two minutes before we were seated.

    2. Our waitress asking the typical tap or bottled. We said tap. Then she offered some lemon or limes with it. Great! But we get the water and the lemon slices were never seen. If you offer it and we accept it, then we should get it.

    3. My husband orders a glass of wine, It was barely filled to the 20% of the way. I took a picture of this. It was laughable.

    4. We order 4 appetizers and 3 entrees for 4 people (Sharing concept). 30 minutes goes by from ordering and no appetizers. My husband flags the waitress (we have 2 young kids). After 5 minutes of looking for the MIA waitress, he finds her hiding by the computer station. He asks if she can check on our appetizers. Defensively she tells us that she put the order in, but the kitchen must be backed up (there are about 15 people in the restaurant besides us). Wrong answer. How about saying “Sorry, let me check with the kitchen now”. AND SHE NEVER GOES TO THE KITCHEN!

    Manager comes and we tell him we have been waiting for 45 minutes for our food. ( I start the timer on my phone after we spoke with two people by now just for giggles). At least HE goes into the kitchen and checks.

    About 15 minutes later (almost an hour after ordering), our appetizers arrive.
    Brussel sprouts – very tasty
    Ricotta Cheese & bread – good, but only 3 small pieces of bread for a giant lump of ricotta – we had to flag the manager down again (our waitress was again MIA) to get another set of bread to eat it with. Locanda Verde’s is much better.
    Meatballs – not bad, but nothing too good. Tiny’s is better.
    Fried Shrimp & Calamari – pretty bad – I have had better. Like at Edward’s.

    Now, the manager is on guard and asks how everything is every five minutes and we tell him to please look to see if our entrees are in order since we don’t want to wait another 45 minutes for the next course.

    5. Entrees arrive 20 minutes later.

    Margarita Pizza – good. Light and tasty
    Sweet potato gnocchi in rabbit sauce – not good. so much sauce that we did not even taste the sweet potato gnocchi. It was not pillowy, It was a log. AND we got a rabbit bone randomly in the dish that my husband almost ate!

    Duck breast parmesan – bad. Gorgonzola cheese does not belong with duck breast

    6. FINALLY, we ask for the check and to have the 2 slices of pizza that were left over wrapped. The waitress acknowledge and takes pizza and brings the check but the pizza has disappeared. Our left over pizza that we requested to be wrapped up was gone like the lemons that they offered and never gave.

    7. The check comes and she charged us for a bottle of pellegrino which we never ORDERED! We asked to get it removed and she disappears again. My husband have to ask the manager to actually remove it.

    The manager did try but it was snowballing downhill every time they served us. Something always went wrong. It was not a fun birthday dinner. I love trying new places in our hood but I am sorry to say, we will never come back to MORSI. We should have went to Tiny’s.