Tag Archives: chinatown

Graffiato

There has been a good amount of buzz surrounding this new Italian restaurant near the Verizon Center. Grafiatto, the two-floor restaurant was opened in June by Season 6 Top Chef contestant, Mike Isabella. Fun fact: Isabella was also runner-up for Top Chef All-Stars.

Isabella is from New Jersey, but he is certainly not a newcomer to the D.C. area. Isabella served as the executive chef of Jose Andres’ Zaytinya prior to Grafiatto’s opening. His new restaurant  has an industrial vibe that’s dimly lit, with dark wood and rock music playing in the background. The drinks at the 15-stoo bar are creative and the glasses some are served in are fitting to the trendy restaurant.

On the second floor, diners can view the open kitchen and see chefs plating the Italian infused tapas. Grafiatto serves pizza from their wood-fire oven, but I’d recommend the other pasta and vegetable dishes.

To the left is the pumpkin risotto with smoked provolone and a balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. To the right is a special, lobster spaghetti with Isabella’s homemade tomato sauce. Below is the Chestnut Agnolotti. Much like ravioli, the pasta was stuffed with what resembled a pureed butternut squash, brussel leaves and brown butter. The agnolotti had a soft homemade texture with a sweet aftertaste.

We also ordered the Broccolini topped with spicy pepper relish and feta, as well as the brussel sprouts cooked in maple, pancetta and egg. I know most people cringe at the thought of brussel sprouts, but one bite of these and you’d have a hard time saying anything other than “Oh my gosh, these are amazing.” If you’re looking for a meat selection, the Pork Ribs with
sicilian oregano and coriander yogurt had a great flavor.

If you’re looking for a Fall dish right around now, the standouts for me were the risotto and agnolotti. In fact, in a recent review by the Washingtonian, Todd Kliman says:

“Isabella’s take on agnolotti might be the area’s finest pasta dish.”

Being that Grafiatto had a wood-fired oven, we also ordered the Vermont pizza with melted leeks, farmhouse cheddar, bacon, baby potatoes. I would have liked for the bottom crust to be a little crispier, but the ingredients stole my complaints away.

Grafiatto is a foodie’s dream. The dishes are small enough to try an array of menu items and they taste like Italian mom was in the kitchen making them. While some other reviewers say consistency is Grafiatto’s biggest setback, I believe they’re about  to take a giant leap forward.

Want to go there? Make sure to get reservations.

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Proof

 

Well, this post took awhile to put up, but it’s too good of a restaurant to completely bypass.  Proof is located near Chinatown in D.C. and has had countless reviews raving about the food, service, ambiance and wine. It was America’s good friend Benjamin Franklin that said, “wine is proof that God loves us.” And so Proof got its name.

The chic restaurant has a dark ambiance floors and the bar is decorated top to bottom with wine. To start, I ordered three types of cheese — all of which I would recommend if I could remember which three they were. I recall the roquefort pairing well with both the figs and the honey.

I like to think I’m an adventurous eater, but Proof’s Crispy Pig Head was not the direction I wanted to go for my entree. If you do order the pig’s head please let me know and I’ll try to hide my feelings of disgust! Instead, I kept it somewhat simple and went with the organic chicken stuffed with goat cheese and wild mushroom served on top of polenta and rap. If you have never heard of rapini (which I had not) it is otherwise known as broccoli rabe. Of course the chicken was juicy and the goat cheese gave it that punch of flavor that chicken can often lack.

And of course I couldn’t leave Proof without ordering a dessert. The brioche bread pudding was soft with a not-too-sweet taste. Even better when you get a birthday candle sticking through it too.

Of course I’m going to recommend Proof, everything is perfect about it. My blog serves as the PROOF (ha!) as to how delicious it is, but you should find out for yourself.

 

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