Saturday, July 23, 2011


As I sit down to write this post I realize I'm pretty bad about keeping things current. I went to Mike Isabella's Graffiato shortly after my last post, and almost a month ago. I wholeheartedly apologize to all three of you who read this, and I pledge to post more frequently from now on. Without further ado, I bring you, Graffiato.

Pistachios with some kind of sweet chili seasoning.
I was on a business trip to New Jersey and reading some food blogs in my downtime when I discovered that Mike Isabella was scheduled to open a new restaurant on the same day I was to arrive back in the DC area. I called to see if I could get a reservation and the earliest available was 10pm the following Monday. I later got the incredibly friendly staff to change our reservation to 9:30, at which time the place was still packed. We had a nice (and VERY knowledgeable) waiter who brought us some seasoned pistachios to snack on while we browsed the drool-inducing menu.

I'm no cheese conniseur, but I know I enjoy a good camembert so I ordered the Green Hill camembert (from Georgia of all places) and we let our waiter choose the other two. He suggested the Cracked Pepper Piedmont (a sheep's milk cheese, reppin' VA) and a goat cheese from Cherry Glen Farm in Maryland. I was pleasantly surprised by both relatively local options.
From left to right: Green Hill Camembert (GA), Cracked Pepper Piedmont (VA) and Cherry Glen Farm (MD)

Next up, Branzino Tartar.  Over the past month, there have been multiple instances where I find myself thinking, "You know what would be perfect right now? A plate full of diced sea bass, radish and cucumber topped with shaved fennel, that's what." This might be my new favorite summertime refeshment. It is the perfect release from the sweltering heat and stifling humidity that is a DC summer. 

Along with EVOO, stuffed pasta (ravioli, manicotti, tortellini, tortelloni, canneloni, etc) might be one my favorite things in the world. My number one rank, and accepting all challengers, is the broccoli rabe ravioli from Pastosa - a small chain of Italian deli/markets in Staten Island, NY. A close second is the sweet corn agnolotti from Graffiato. I WILL be going back there for this dish alone.

Sweet Corn Agnolotti with Chantrelles and Pignoli
We weren't going to order any pizza, but the table next to us got one and it smelled phenomenal. Nadine adores white pizza, so we decided to go with the 'White House' Pizza. It was very simple, but a unique concept that intrigued both of us. Like most other pizza, it was topped with mozzarella, but it also had taleggio, ricotta, prosciutto, and black pepper honey. I know what you're thinking, "Honey!? On Pizza!?" It sounded strange to me at first, but I figured it was worth a shot. Bullseye. The black pepper honey and excellently-cured prosciutto provided an harmonious coupling of sweet and salty.

Garffiato was amazing and if you're in the DC area, you should definitely go there. I have no affiliation with the place, but I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Chef Mike Isabella and his team really did it with this one. Per usual, I threw in some more pics below that will probably make you hungry. Enjoy!
Bone Marrow with pistachio, breadcrumbs, bacon and cured lemon.
Menus - refined excellence

Nutella cookies. Great either before or after the rest of your meal.
Carrot Panna Cotta

Carrot Panna Cotta - so good, we ordered it twice.