Friday, July 1, 2011

Top Chef, Top Restaurant

There have been months of anticipation. Ever since Mike Isabella returned to DC after coming in second place in the Top Chef All Stars, foodies living in our nation's capital have been waiting for Graffiato to open. When he announced to his twitterazzi that reservations were now available on Open Table, I jumped at the chance to check it out during it's first few days open.

We arrived a few minutes early and were greeted by three nice, but nervous looking hostesses. Our table wasn't quite ready yet, so we started out by grabbing drinks at the crowded bar. I started with a Brooklyn Summer Ale and Alex had a teeny, tiny Gin and Tonic. The scale is difficult to judge here, because the can in the picture is also teeny tiny, the kind that tomato paste or pineapple juice come in. 

We were seated right on time and presented our menus by a very, very nice waiter who looked strangely similar to Peter Sarsgaard. We opened our menus, and were totally not sure what to try first. Should we get the Chicken Thighs and Pepperoni Sauce, didn't we have to get Roasted Potato Gnocchi, why does every pizza look so amazing? We decided to just dive in and try practically everything.

We started with a bread basket filled with focaccia, raisin walnut, and polenta breads accompanied by bowls of ricotta and olive oil jam. Each bread was incredible tasty in its own right, and it was fun to mix and match them with the three cheese plate we ordered.

We got Gorgonzola Dolce, Green Hill Camembert, and Cracked Pepper Piedmont which were accompanied by a hefty dollop of garlic butter. Though we hadn't originally ordered the Gorgonzola, we chose to keep it and were happy we did as soon as we discovered how wonderful it tasted on the raisin walnut bread. It was nice that the waiter noticed the mistake too and offered to fix it, but it's cheese and we aren't that picky.

In addition to the cheese plate, we also ordered 3 hams, Wolftown Ham, Benton’s Smoked Country Ham, and Biellese Culatello prosciutto. Each were salty and delicious, piled on over a healthy drizzling of honey.

Next, we moved on to the Marinated Broccoli with radish, chili, and balsamic. It was tender and well seasoned, but not a favorite of mine. Not that it was bad, I'm just not a fan of cooked, but chilled, broccoli. Alex ate the entire bowl, happy that I wasn't interested in fighting him for half.

However, when the Roasted Potato Gnocchi with braised pork shank, and burrata came out, he was lucky to even get a bite. You must go there and have this heavenly dish. The gnocchi was pillowy, the pork shank braised to perfection, and the burrata was creamy and delicious. It was so good.

Last, Alex and I shared the Classic pizza with melted cherry tomatoes, sicilian oregano, and garlic. The pizza was tasty, and packed a punch of tomato and garlic. However, I was excited to take home leftovers and add a layer of fresh mozzarella, next time, we'll be sure to add that as a topping.

For dessert we shared a slice of Chocolate Tart with a side of sea salt gelato. It was the perfect end to a delicious meal.

Dinner at Graffiato was a wonderful experience. Our waiter was super nice, the food was tremendously good, and the minor kinks we experienced are sure to be worked out as soon as they get through their first week of service. We will definitely be back!


  1. Yum!!! I don't know what is better - all those food pics, or the idea of Peter Sarsgaard ;)

  2. Awesome! I love that you went ahead and ordered almost one of everything!

  3. Hey Erin! It's Julien, your tie-less culinaerie colleague. I love your blog, and after this review I'm making a reservation at Graffiato tonight!

  4. Thanks ladies! Peter Sarsgaard is cute.

    Julien! Thanks for stopping by. When are you volunteering again? I'll be there this Tuesday and next Tuesday. Any chance we'll get to hang?

  5. I am drooling over that gnocchi dish! And the chocolate tart.

  6. Our DC friends just went to Graffiato for the first time and RAVED about it! Really hoping to make a trip down there soon ... and definitely ordering the pepperoni sauce (which they said was amazing) and the gnocchi.