Took my wife to Graffiato last night to celebrate her birthday and had a really great time. The only nits were it took almost 20 minutes to get sat despite arriving on time for our 7:45 pm reservation and the food took about 15 minutes to arrive (even the bread basket). From a food perspective, almost everything was executed flawlessly.
If you're not sure what to pick, definitely go with the Chef's Tasting. We got to try every single pasta on the menu, every meat and even had a couple dishes that were only available if you ordered the Chef's Tasting (braised romano beans - good not great and zeppoles - great texture but the strawberry powder reminded me of Frankenberries cereal...I think a simple powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar would've been perfect). On top of all those dishes we received a Jersey Shore pizza, a couple of the dishes from the specials menu (tuna crudo was tasty - the lemon zest was really perfect for brightening up the flavors. The pan fried sea bass on the other hand was newsworthy. The skin was crisp and the meat perfectly cooked. The accompaniments of zucchini, eggplant and squash were a great foil since they were slightly sweet - I think from a vinegar reduction.
The pastas were really awesome. Perhaps the best dish of the night was the hand cut spaghetti. The texture of the noodles combined the cherry tomato sauce was a home run. Such a simple dish yet so delicious. One of the best simple spaghetti dishes I've ever had.
The roasted potato gnocchi were nice too. The gnocchi were the lightest gnocchi I've tried (had really great gnocchi at Bar la Grassa in Minneapolis but they couldn't compare to the lightness of these) and the braised pork and creamy burrata really made this a great comfort food. Probably something you'd love on a cold winter day.
My wife inhaled the sweet corn agnolotti because the filling of corn reduced in its own liquid and finished with marscapone was really sweet. You better enjoy sweeter foods for this one because that's the main taste although the chantarelles and sauce helped lend more of the savory notes needed to balance the dish.
Of the Wood Oven or Meats section as I liked to call it, all of them were really good and I'd order again other than the King Crab leg. The preparation was nice with a flavorful bread crumb over the leg and a sea urchin sauced knuckle meat salad but it was all brought down by a slightly less than perfect crab leg and a bit of overzealousness with the salt.
The chicken thighs in the famous pepperoni were really intensely flavored so the portion in my mind was perfect. A couple more pieces and you'd probably not be able to eat anything else for the night...
The bone marrow was an interesting take where they already scooped out the marros and then mixed it with bacon, cured lemon, pistachio and bread crumbs. It reminded me of an ultra rich stuffing. Really intense flavors once again.
The desserts were probably the weakest part of the meal. We had carrot panna cotta, chocolate tart with sea salt gelato, nutella cookies and zeppoles.
The carrot panna cotta were probably the best of the desserts. While the texture was a bit too firm in my mind for panna cotta, the flavors were really cool in that it tasted like a carrot cake. The other desserts were just ok and I probably could've been ok with just getting some gelato.
Throughout the course of the meal chef Mike Isabella could be seen visiting the various tables which was nice. He even signed my wife's menu and took a picture with her (there were a lot of chef groupies that night it seemed. 1 out of 3 women asked for a picture with him). This was one of the better and fun meals I've had in DC in a long time. If the cooking keeps at the level it's executing already, this will be a busy place for quite some time.
707 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001