We went to DC to meet a cousin for dinner this week and my coworker suggested Top Chef Mike Isabella's Graffiato. We could only get a reservation for 8:30 on a Thursday night (you'd think the 5th of July DC would be cleared out) but we got there early, got a drink at the bar and got seated upstairs by 8.
We started with glasses of the draft prosecco just for the novelty of it. I mean, who has prosecco on draft, right? The decor a mix of farm and modern upstairs with modern art and little pots of herbs on the tables and cold hard steel chairs. They offered us a choice of still or sparkling water on the house. I got the sparkling which tasted a bit mineraly, but was just as flat as the still water.
This is the second restaurant in a week where there's been no ice in the glass. Is this a new trend?
We started out with a pizza and the sweet corn agnoletti which I had read were a MUST on this menu. The pizza was chosen by the cousins and they chose the Jersey Shore: a pizza with tomato sauce, provolone, and calamari with a cherry pepper aioli drizzled over it. The calamari were crunchy, the spiciness of the aioli offset the fried bits. It was tasty.
The Agnolotti were very tasty, creamy and buttery. The sweetness of the corn popped with the toasted pine nuts. Chanterelles, which were supposed to be on the dish were woefully lacking, as there was maybe 1/4 of one chanterelle chopped up on top, but the agnolotti itself made up for it. The agnolotti were swimming in a butter sauce that could have used a bit more of the chanterelle flavor, but all in all, pretty good.
We also got a crispy lamb dish with favas and a cucumber yogurt relish that was delicious. The denseness of the lamb and the cucumber yoghurt went well together.
Next up were the gnocci, which were another MUST HAVE by the reviewers. I have to say that I found the plate of gnocci to be very small for the $18 price tag, the paper thin truffles on top were tasteless but the wild mushrooms this time were copious and deliciously sauteed. Not something I'd get again for that pricepoint, but not bad.
Finally the crowning glory came. We got the countryman pizza with black truffle, fontina and a soft cooked egg that was broken over the pizza at the table to finish cooking. Here you can see the server breaking the egg and spreading it into an unattractive gloopy mass but it sure was tasty. The crust was perfectly cooked, the pan piping hot and the truffle taste really came through on this pizza.
All in all I would have to say that Graffiato had some delicious dishes and some that were just good, but it was not worth the hefty price tag for teeny tiny plates.