Now that I’m back in school, the old collegial living thing is well, a thing again. I have a roommate (really more of a suite mate), Lauren, and fortunately for me, she’s great. The other weekend, we decided to venture to Graffiato, which a short walk from our on-campus housing to Chinatown. The restaurant was recommended to me by Carly, whose recommendations are always great.
We arrived around 8pm on a Saturday night, and the place was swarming. Downstairs, there is seating and pretty extensive bar, while the upstairs features more seating. Snagging a seat looked like it could take awhile, but we were seated upstairs shortly after our arrival. Great ambience, though it was very loud, which I could see being an issue if you go with a larger group or on a first date. In those cases, you would just need to chose a less busy time or day, because this is definitely a place for groups and a place for dates.
Once we were seated, we went for the drink menu, naturally. We are law students, after all. There were tons of drinks that sounded absolutely amazing. I settled on the Tony Starr 3.0, because it has mezcal, which I first fell in love with at Oyamel. Once again, mezcal did not disappoint me. This divine combination of vida mezcal, cucumber, blood orange juice, agave nectar, lime, ginger beer was refreshing and the perfect way to start the meal.
The real struggle with Graffiato was deciding on options because EVERYTHING looked amazing. There was not a single item on the menu that I was not interested in trying. Which that sort of variety and creativity is the sign of a great restaurant, it can make it very difficult to choose which dishes to sample first. Ultimately, Lauren and I ordered the ricotta cavatelli with a lamb ragu, chili, feta, mint and pistachio. From the first bite, I was hooked. I seriously want to go get a plate right now just thinking about it. The ragu was perfectly seasoned and the pasta was just tender enough without being over cooked. The pistachio added some texture that worked very nicely. We also ordered scallops, which were a special that day, so I don’t know they will be on the menu again. Once again, cooked perfectly, with a little crunch on the outside but moist and juicy (GOD I HATE THAT COMBO OF WORDS—but it’s accurate) on the inside. The sauce complemented it nicely.
The most intriguing thing we ordered that night was our pizza. We got the “Dirty South”, topped with brussels sprouts, braised pork, sweet potato, maple and chili. I have no idea how I was able to move from the table. I never would have thought to combine those textures and flavors onto a pizza. It was brilliant, and a little bit sweet. Because we’re superhuman and managed to find room for dessert, we obviously had to try the chocolate cake with salted caramel gelato. So, I don’t know who I need to speak to in order to get this by the pint, but I will write letters, organize rallies, and do everything short of strip to get that gelato in my freezer. The peach crostada was amazing, and the only reason it didn’t stand out more is SALTED CARAMEL GELATO, that’s why.
Anyway, come here. Often. With groups. On dates. Take your parents when they’re in town. Sign up for online dating just to make people take you here. I have a boyfriend and I’m considering that (strongly).
How to get there:
Take the metro to Gallery Place/Chinatown. Get off at the 7th and H St exit. Hang a right, down H St. Walk a block. Take another right. Or just get on Google Maps. It’s not hard.
How much you’ll spend:
I split and spent around $50ish. You can spend more, you can spend less. The beauty of small plates!