Has anyone been to Grezzo yet??
I have a dinner reservation at Grezzo for Valentine's day and I'm wondering if anyone has been yet and, if so, have you got any recommendations or tips!!
I was there last night. It was FABULOUS!!! I had;
Candy beet ravioli for my appetizer- quite tasty, very unique
Red papaya and bitter endive salad- extreme opposite flavors that complemented each other well
Gnocchi carbonara- a stand out. Totally delicious- I had to restrain myself from liking the plate, the sauce was that good!
Since I couldn't decide between the 2 desserts, they gave me half and half,
The sinfully delicious cheesecake lived up to its name, while the Decadent deep dark chocolate fudge cake was very yummy.
They had wine and these creative specialty drinks- non alcoholic, however it was too cold outside for me to have one.
As I rolled out the door stuffed to the gills, I could only quote Arnold;
I'll be back!
What can I say about Grezzo....
If you are a raw food vegan, this place is clearly the pinnacle, the Olympus of your philosophy. Go here now.
If you are a cooked food vegan or vegetarian, I think you will find this place utterly fascinating, and may want to dine here regularly.
If you are an omnivore, such as myself, I have to say that it is worth a visit, if not purely out of curiosity, and it may even merit a return visit....
so to the chow....
Last night my gf and I arrived to a very busy restaurant - It is a nicely decorated place, pleasing earth tones, some highlights of color, but the room is very narrow (What was here before?) and so the tables are rather packed in and servers had some difficulty serving the patrons on one side of the wall - I made lemonade out of it and happily helped transport the plates over mine, but in the future, this should be remedied.
The first thing that struck me was the real quiet from the kitchen - utterly devoid of pops or sizzles - of course, the food is raw, so it is amazing how conditioned we are to those sounds in a restaurant. It was a little unnerving. There was some quiet Italian-themed music playing in the background. Seemed to get a little louder later in the evening...it helped with the ambience.
Our server, Nikki, was very friendly and enthusiastic. Ms. Cohen was tending the beverages - My gf started with a glass of biodynamic Cabernet and I tried a non-alcoholic cucumber "martini" - which had cucumber, kombucha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha) and other things I forget - it was delicious! Cool, very lightly fizzy, refreshing, like drinking a cucumber. ;) I later had a glass of red zin that was very nice.
For starters, we shared the beet ravioli - so let me be perfectly clear - we received three ravioli which were made of verrry thinly sliced and very pretty RAW beets, filled with a fig cardamom paste and sitting in a coconut curry cream. I think this was possibly the best item all night. You could almost cut through the beets with your fork - they had a pleasing crunch to them, and the filling and sauce was delicious - this dish could compete against so-called "regular" food anywhere. It was really very good.
Seeing what seemed to be the relatively small size of the portions, I added in the red papaya and endive salad along with the vanilla parsnip soup for the next round. The soup was of course served chilled - the texture was slightly fibery, but not unpleasantly so - the aroma of mushrooms and vanilla were a curious combination - the vanilla was almost too strong for my nose, started me thinking about soap, but I got over it.
The salad was sort of a failure for me - the ingredients were top notch but it really needed to be dressed in some way. I wouldn't order this again. It was just sort of boring.
For entrees, gf had the "land and sea" - a little joke as it had lobster mushooms, yellow oyster mushrooms and hedgehog mushroom lasagna - smooth riccota, dulse and aleria (these are two kinds of kelp/seaweed - I had to look it up...) Again, keep in mind that the "cheese" is not actually cheese from milk. This was honestly pretty good. The kelp was VERY chewy, almost like kelp jerky, but again, I sort of liked it?! The raw mushrooms were good, especially when mixed with the pesto that came on the side, which was outstanding.
I had the gnocchi carbonara - House-made dumplings, creamy rawmesan and fresh English peas with crispy eggplant and pea shoots, per the menu. I thought this was kinda sorta not great, in that the gnocchi were a paste that, if I am judging it in comparison to gnocchi, really bore no comparison. Once in the mouth, they smoosh down and you are left to contend with a smoosh of paste, instead of something firmer. Again, the flavors were actually quite good, but I could not fully enjoy because of the mouth feel. I think if they did not call it gnocchi, I would not have had such pre-formed expectations, and may have enjoyed it more. The sauce was excellent. The peas, being raw, had a welcome crunch.
Finally, we were severely tempted to beg off dessert to grab a cap and a cannoli, but in for a penny....So we got splits of the dessert. The chocolate cake had raw cacao, not carob, but was like putty. ok flavor, difficult to eat, meh. Was accompanied by two fruit sauces that were very light, not sweet, not bad. A garnish of shaved, dehydrated pineapple was interesting.
On the other hand, the "cheese"cake was really sort of outstanding - tasted like cheesecake, lightly sweet, "graham cracker" crust, but the lavendar/agave sauce really made it work. I had a hot water infusion of lemongrass to accompany - ok.
So a couple of thoughts:
I think you would want to confirm this, but I think if you have a nut allergy, you will be out of luck - although they do not use peanuts, which are not actually nuts...it seems that nuts make their way into lots of the concoctions.
The creativity to make raw food this delicious is off the charts. I did not really think I would enjoy my meal, and at least as a first time experience, I really did. Make no mistake - we were both FULL after our meal, although we supposed that our GI tracts were going WHOA WHOA WHOA, what are all these non-denatured proteins and stuff you are throwing at us?
There was a brochure about raw food on each table, and it remarked that people who eat raw food have the pounds just melt off. no doubt.
The thing that struck me about this cuisine was that the flavors, while all sharp and distinct, just seemed a bit off, did not blend quite right - I think this is due to my conditioning for how cooking foods combines flavors, melds them. Here, every dish other than the salad, had good flavors, but each flavor stood apart from everything else on the palette. Which is not to say it was not tasty, just different, not what I am used to.
Of course, the joke is, I just paid $20 for an entree at a restaurant for raw food. Yeah, there is that. But then, there is sushi too. I think this required much more effort and creativity.
At the end of the day, we were happy we went there. (GF scrounged up a snack at home of a couple tortilla chips, because she needed something cooked....I could totally sympathize.)
I think the website promises that the menu will change every couple of weeks, so I would go back again. I think for me, I want to see what they can do once the seasonal fruits and veggies start coming in. If they can make raw beets, parsnips and mushrooms taste good, I will be very intrigued once the bounty of spring and summer starts.
Can I honestly recommend that all my normally eating friends go here? Frankly, I think you have to be a bit of an adventurous eater to appreciate the food, but it is more of a mental thing. As a curiosity, as something outside the box, I would love it to succeed.
If you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw food acolyte, RUN don't walk to this place. It is the best vegan food I have ever had (although I am far from an expert or very experienced). With prior vegan food experiences, the food has been bland, icky, meh - or places like Grasshopper making things that are vegan that pretend to be/taste like meat. Grezzo has none of those shenanigans.
P.S. - this is probably one of the longest entries I have ever done here, so that may speak for itself. See what raw food dining can do!! lol
re: Bob Dobalina
Thanks for the review. I went there myself tonight, and they seem to have issues with timing still. My friend joked, "I don't understand why our dinner is taking so long if they're not even COOKING the food!" We actually tried VeeVee in JP last week, and when there was an extended delay in the food, the owner personally came out and apologized and gave us 4 free desserts! No apologies or explanations were offered tonight, but then again, I should expect it during opening week.
The gnocchi was definitely interesting and leaves a strong pine nut taste in your mouth after the meal. I second the pesto for the lasagna, as it goes very well with the "ricotta." Like you said, it's a cool and unique concept - very interesting and fun to try, but not exactly the place to fill up on a hearty meal for a cold winter day :P