Graffiato is a quaint Italian restaurant recommended to me by a dear friend who knows how deep my love brussels sprouts goes and from her praise, I knew I had to try it for myself. Unfortunately when I arrived, brussels sprouts were no longer an option on their menu ☹ and after much inquiry I was told that brussels sprouts were out of season. I would have thought that vegetables flourish during springtime– boy I was wrong.My initial reaction was – did I just get played because my friend had dined there less than a week prior and all she raved about was how good their brussels sprouts were. I was almost convinced that I was indeed being played so I did some research and here’s what I found ~brussels sprouts are considered cold-weather vegetables meaning they thrive in cool temperatures and the peak season for this cool weather vegetable is between September and March~ So it’s safe to say I was tardy to the party when I visited at the end of April and Graffiato was not punking me. This doesn’t mean that brussels sprouts aren’t readily available all year round, but may not be an easy find.
Graffiato was not hard to find. It’s located on 6th street in Chinatown Washington DC, behind the Verizon Center.
Side note: as I was right about walking in to Graffiato when I spotted another ramen spot right next to it and I’m really eager to try this place and see if it tops my experience at Toki (review coming soon).
Graffiato is a two level, Italian inspired restaurant with a playful and funky vibe to it. The walls are decorated with various food art. On one side I saw a potato head as well as pirate looking onions. Overall, Graffiato gave me a clean, simple, and casual vibe and was the perfect place to spend my Saturday night.
Let me say right now that I was starving when I visited which explains why I ordered quite a bit on the menu. The meals are served family style which is meant for sharing. I ordered the fried calamari, lamb shoulder, asparagus, and potato gnocchi. I skipped dessert because I was too stuffed to eat anything else.
Fried Calamari– the calamari was below average and extremely salty and this is coming from someone with a high tolerance for salt.
Lamb Shoulder– this was one my favorite dishes of the night, the lamb had a sweet and tangy taste to it which is unique and unlike anything I have ever tasted, but nonetheless delicious.
Asparagus– I ordered the asparagus because this vegetable replaced the brussels sprouts I came for. The waiter then informed me that it was prepared the same way their brussels sprouts would have been made. The asparagus had a well balanced texture- not too soft yet not too hard, but had the right amount of crunch. It was served with lemon ricotta, pancetta, and egg emulsion. Let’s just say, it’s not your average asparagus. It was yummy!
Potato Gnocchi– I love a good gnocchi but I was a bit disappointed because I had higher expectations being that I was at an “Italian” restaurant. I expected my palate to dance for joy. The gnocchi was cooked in short rib ragu.
The asparagus is a must. Although they no longer had brussels sprouts on their menu, their asparagus is my new brussels sprouts (for now). Best believe I’ll be back to try their brussels sprouts when it’s back in season.
Overall Food Quality-