It’s D.C. Restaurant Week, and my travel buddy and I made reservations (last week) for a spot we’ve wanted to try for a long time: Graffiato. And let’s just say, we were nothing short of amazed by every bite from the Top Chef veteran. Restaurant Week basically means diners choose one appetizer, an entree, and a dessert from a tailored menu for one flat rate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Restaurant Week is a foodie’s paradise. Seriously! It’s the time to try that place where you’ve been dying to dine.
Graffiato boasts a different kind of vibe. Wooden tables, metal chairs, brick walls, Tim Burtonesque artwork on the second floor, matter-of-fact fonts: it’s an industrial sophistication. The design concept is muted only by the stunning visuals and tastes of the food. It works as a clean canvas for edible artwork.
So between the two of us, here are the dishes we chose. For appetizers, the crispy brussel sprouts and buffalo mozzarela. Jersey Shore (pizza) and salmon for entrees. And for dessert, one of each: the warm pistachio cake and chocolate tart. Words don’t do the food justice, so never fear, I took several photos.
The brussel sprouts. First of all, these aren’t your mom’s brussel sprouts (no offense to moms)! Cooked with chunks of pancetta, these sprouts were crisp, grilled, crunchy, yet soft enough. A lovely cream was a suprise waiting to happen on the bottom of the plate under a hearty portion of sprouts, pancetta, and slivers of hard-boiled egg. I would have never thought of this flavor combination (probably one reason why I am not a head chef). The second appetizer was the buffalo mozzarela. Using a fork, it sliced with
ease like butter. It held its shape beautifully and didn’t messily tear like some mozzarela I’ve had before. Its smooth creaminess was accompanied by pearl onions, shallots, basil, and, of course, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. What a way to start!
The entrees took it to the next level. The Jersey Shore pizza had (get this) fried calamari on it with a cherry pepper ailoi, which wasn’t an overwhelming level of heat, but just enough. Hot and obviously hand-tossed, the actual bread of the pizza was soft and not dense. And there were several slices in this pizza; more than enough for two of us. I chose the salmon, which sat atop dill-lemon mashed potatoes. Five dots on the periphery of the plate showcased an eggplant puree
(which had a lovely charred taste) with squid ink. Yup, you read that correctly. Squid ink. Actually quite an interesting pairing, but delicious.
Ok, dessert time. Chocolate tart with a sea salt gelato, and it basically rocked the house. With a
dessert I enjoyed more!