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Monday Meal at Graffiato

August 16, 2011

I headed out of work last night into an ominously beautiful sky.

From this vantage point, it almost looks like the middle of small town America, not the street in front of the White House!

My friends and I were meeting for dinner at a to-be-decided place. After debating a bunch of places, from casual-and-cheap (Merzi, Wok ‘n Roll) to fine dining, we settled on Top Chef Mike Isabella‘s two-month-old Graffiato in Penn Quarter.

Sometimes you just need a nice meal on a Monday, right? Mike Isabella used to be executive chef at one of my favorite restaurants, José Andrés’ Zaytinya, before leaving to open his own place.

The food at Graffiato may be good but the lighting is horrible and since I came straight from work, an iPhone was my only camera. Fair warning.

One of the selling points of Graffiato is that it’s the only place in DC with prosecco on tap. We celebrated a friend’s upcoming four-month stint overseas with a toast.

Graffiato’s menu isn’t long but emphasizes fresh, local ingredients. I was intrigued by some of the interesting pizza choices — The Turk: pistachio, apricot, ricotta — but ended up deciding on Risotto with asparagus and pesto. Despite the waitress’ repeating reminder that the pasta dishes were small, each plate held one perfect serving. It wasn’t restaurant portions, it was real portions.

Another friend ordered the Sweet Corn Agnolotti with chanterelles and pine nuts and we split the two dishes.

We also ordered an unpictured bread basket that came with the most incredible olive oil jam. This jam was so good, I want to bathe in it — or at least buy a jar to keep in my kitchen.

What’s good about Graffiato? Delicious food, prosecco on tap, emphasis on local ingredients.

What’s not so great? They tell you ahead of time that the food comes out in staggered waves and aren’t joking — my risotto arrived before the bread basket, a good 10 minutes before the last person’s dish was put on the table. I understand they want to get food to tables quickly but then the food is just sitting on your table getting cold. Also: not a good restaurant for conversation. The booming bass makes conversations shout-only.

Graffiato may be a great place for lunch — get a seat upstairs by the windows for better light. I’ll definitely try the pizza next time but don’t be scared off by servers warning of “small” plates.

Do you watch Top Chef? When I had cable, it was a favorite but I haven’t seen it in years despite the awesome local chefs (like Carla Hall) who appeared on the show.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin permalink
    August 17, 2011 7:50 am

    It’s my favorite show…and my cable just got canceled today 😦 I decided to stick with only Internet because my bill went up and the price is just outrageous. SO I chose to cancel, meaning I don’t get my trashy Bravo shows anymore! BOOO.

    Thankfully, if I get the whim, they’re all online somewhere! 🙂

    • August 17, 2011 8:35 am

      Good call on cutting cable — it’s such an easy way to save money and you can definitely find your favorite shows (even Bravo and E) online. The only time you’ll miss it is on lazy days when you just want to veg in front of the TV. 🙂

  2. August 28, 2011 10:55 am

    I’m really bummed to hear how many problems Graffiato is having…I had high hopes for it! Maybe I’ll give it another couple of months to work out the kinks before going. I am also a huge fan of Zatinya, as well as Top Chef. Have you tried Volt?? It’s amazing!!!

    • August 28, 2011 3:44 pm

      Haven’t been to Volt yet but heard it’s great — definitely need to drive up there! Thanks for the recc!

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