I have a serial habit of bringing any and every out-of-town guest to Graffiato for brunch. There are a few reasons for this. One: it’s quite delicious. Two: they offer bottomless mimosas without a time limit. In the words of the Barefoot Contessa, “how bad can that be?”
Graffiato is located just behind the Verizon Center, and is one of several area restaurants owned by Top Chef alum, Mike Isabella. It’s noisy and crowded with a long bar that wraps around the perimeters of the pizza-making area. Seriously, the smell of mozzarella and pizza crust is constantly wafting through the air. It’s one of those places that makes you seriously want cheese. And really, who hates cheese? As a quick side note, that comment is directly related to the fact that I strongly distrust anybody who dislikes cheese. It’s un-American, really.
If you elect to shell out $18 (and you should), you are treated to bottomless mimosas at Graffiato. The flavors sometimes change, but are normally orange, grapefruit and peach. I’ve tried them all (duh) and each one is unique, depending on what you like. If you are more of a classic person, go for the orange. If you like a little bit of sweetness, try the peach. If you’re a tart, little berry, go for the grapefruit. But for all means, try them all.
Whenever, and I mean WHENEVER I go to Graffiato, I always order their Caesar Salad. I think it may be the most wonderful Caesar that I have ever had, which means a lot, because I order a Caesar salad anytime I happen to spot one on a menu. What sets this one apart is the addition of cream cheese croutons. Yep, you heard me. Cream. Cheese. Croutons. They’re remarkable. It’s literally like biting into a hard crouton, but with the addition of the beautiful ooze of cream cheese as a finish. Seriously, I sucker everyone I know into ordering it and they always agree.
I love octopus. I mean, I REALLY love octopus. Thankfully octopus has become fashionable in recent years, and most good restaurants have it on their menu. If you’re an octopus novice, here are a few, key tips:
- Octopus should never be chewy. If it takes more than a few chews to choke it down, somebody screwed something up.
- Octopus should never be difficult to cut. If you feel like you’re trying to saw down a Pinewood fresh from the forest, somebody screwed something up.
- Octopus should never taste “fishy”. If it is aggressively strong, someone probably got it out of the back of a pickup. Thus, they screwed it up.And should probably be reported to the FDA.
None of these things apply to the octopus at Graffiato. It was really beautiful, with the savoriness of the eggplant caponata, crunch from the pine nuts, sweetness from the red wine agrodolce and fresh herby note from the mint.
Other very popular items are their pizzas. My friends usually opt for the Jersey Shore pie, which is dotted with a heavy adornment of fried calamari. It smells like Heaven. Like, seriously, I’m not kidding. I’ve thought about what Heaven must smell like, and have concluded that it would smell like bread, cheese and fried calamari. Thus, this pizza is the scent of Heaven. If only in my mind.
Another one of my friends opted for the breakfast pizza, which comes with bacon, potato, broccolini and a beautifully poached egg. The staff at Graffiato even offers to bust open your egg for you. #yolkporn.
Yet another friend (seriously, I bring all friends here) ordered the tagliatelle with short rib ragu. It smelled remarkable, and can imagine that it would be delicious on a cold day with a glass of red wine.
I’ve never had any major issues with the staff, but I’ve also never had a remarkable staff experience. Nobody has really stood out to me, and service is something that I take into high account at a restaurant. I do feel the need, unfortunately, to dock a few points for my last visit due to service. My octopus came out of the kitchen at least 15 minutes before my friend’s pizza, thus it became very cold. This is probably a small detail, but something that I noticed and that bothered me.
In short, the food at Graffiato is never disappointing. The waitstaff could use a bit of work, but it is certainly not something that would deter me from coming back.
Until next time, lovelies.