My friends and long time readers know I’m a big Top Chef fan. On my last visit to D.C., I was sadden that I wasn’t able to see Mike Isabella at Zaytina, because he had left to open his new restaurant. In Fall 2011, Graffiato opened in Chinatown. I knew it would be on my Must-Dine list for my next trip to D.C.
Image courtesy of Graffiato’s website
Because of Mike Isabella’s popularity from his 2nd place finish on Top Chef All-Stars, I booked my reservations early. Graffiato has an energetic vibe, and Kelly & I loved the rock and roll music playing while we entered. We were taken upstairs, where the main dining area is.
Kelly persuaded me for us to partake in the Chef’s Tasting, a sample of some of the best dishes. As our waiter Jarrad said, it’s the stuff they are really proud of. I was nervous, since I do not eat seafood, but Jarrad was accommodating, saying, no one has ever been disappointed. The table behind us also ordered it, and as Jarrad had told us, not everyone will get the same dishes.
Our first course featured flatbread with pepperoni sauce. This sauce got so much attention when Mike cooked it in the finale, and was the one thing I really wanted to taste. Oh. My. It was everything I had hoped it would be. I wish I could have bought a bottle of it to take home! Also in the first course was broccolini with feta, walnuts and pepper relish, burrata (like mozzarella) with pearl onions, and a ham plate, with speck, smoked ham and bresole, drizzled in olive oil and honey. It was all divine. I could have stopped there and been happy.
Our second course was roasted cauliflower with pecorino and mint and lobster risotto. I had let Jarrad know that I would be willing to try the risotto, which I did. I did not care for it, but Kelly loved it. Along with the cauliflower, it was the only leftovers we took home. Jarrad felt bad I didn’t respond well to the risotto and wanted to know what I really wanted to eat- he’d bring that out. Kelly told him I’m a meat gal, so he promised to bring that out next.
The third course offered hand cut spaghetti, wild boar, pork belly, and crispy brussel sprouts. I dare anyone to eat those brussel sprouts and not become a fan. We already liked brussel sprouts, but Graffiato preparing them with pancetta & maple pushed us to clean the whole plate. The boar was also excellent (it was my first time eating that). The pork belly was very tender, and the crispy skin on the outside was perfect. The spaghetti prepared so simply with basil and cherry tomatoes was delicious.
Dessert was a chocolate tart with pine nuts and sea salt gelato. The combination of salty & sweet sent my senses reeling. A great ending to a fantastic meal.
I was well pleased with my meal at Graffiato. I appreciate that they use local ingredients and local farms, as well as supporting local vineyards. Kelly partook in the wine pairing with our meal, and was delighted to have a wine from a local vineyard she had previously visited. The atmosphere was fun, the food fantastic, and I felt we got our monies worth for our meal. I hope on my next visit to try the Porky’s Revenge pizza, which has sopressata, pepperoni, sausage, tomato, stracciatella.
Check out Graffiato’s website to book your reservation, and peruse the menu before hand. You won’t be disappointed!