It's only natural that a chef would take along her specialties when she alights for more lucrative footing and a new kitchen, so it's no surprise that Jody William's menu at Keith McNally's new Morandi bears some familiar items to that of her previous lieu d'emploi, Gusto. But, as many have noticed, the birthmarks line up a little too closely, and the distinguishing characteristics are freakily similar. Did Waverly Place's Morandi steal more than Gusto's chef? Is McNally a menu plagiarist?
A quick menu perusal shows at least 6 items including apps and entrees lifted from the Gusto menu, not counting the radishes for which Mcnally charges $5 but are free at Gusto. What's more, according to a recent Morandi visitor(just uncovered: who happens to be dating Gusto owner Sasha Muniak) mentioning this fact inspires no small degree of McNally ire.
if you happen to comment on it (like to the bartender for example) they get all irritated and indignant like it's APPALLING you would even mention it. i mean for fuck's sake, if that's the decision you make, i think you'd better get a fucking sense of humor about it. get this. the dude says to me: "...well that's what italian cooking IS, it's having recipes handed down to you for generations..."
Ahh, Morandi, you're getting it from both ends. First the Cuozz calls bullshit on your menu and then it turns out the menu isn't even yours. All you can do, I guess, is take a cue from a certain infamous Meatpacking billboard, and Negate the Negativity.
A list of tantalizingly similar items:
Carciofi alla Giudea...Morandi $10, Gusto $12
Fritto Misto de Pesce...Morandi $12, Gusto $14
Polpetti alla Griglia (grilled octopus, celery & black olives)...Morandi $14, Gusto $14
Insalate d'Arancia...Morandi $12, Gusto $10
Sogliala con Salsa di Capperi...Morandi $24, Gusto $36
Polpettine alla Siciliana...Morandi $18, Gusto $16
Pasta con Le Sarde...Morandi $15, Gusto $18.