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Praise for Graffiti

b
bdurrett Aug 27, 2008 10:15 AM

Had a delicious meal last night at Graffiti in the EV. Tiny little jewel box. Menu consists of small plates designed to share. The owner (Jehangir Mehta) who will serve you is extremely accommodating (not to mention very kind) e.g. we were 4 and the watermelon salad serves 3 pieces, he immediately offered to add an extra piece.

Signature of the menu is mixing flavors and textures. Mehta has obviously taken great care in preparing the menu and takes the same care explaining it and serving his guests. Seriously, he's the nicest guy I've encountered in this city in a while.

We covered a lot of the menu, and were not disappointed by any item. We had the watermelon feta salad (mint sorbet made the dish), pork dumplings, pickled ginger scallops, chili shrimp, braised pork bun and the burger. It is hard to pick a stand out bc it was all that good - scallops, shrimp, pork bun and burger were all fantastic. The burger meat is done kabob style and has great spciy flavor. Every dish seems to have one or two extra unexpected ingredients which make the dish unique.

I am as jaded as the next NY diner, and feel I am rarely overwhelmed by the creativity of a menu or the care/service, and Graffiti did just that in both categories. Definitely recommend.

  1. bombaybeauty Jul 2, 2009 09:49 AM

    Echoing the praise in this thread. I was there last night with 5 friends. It was my second visit, the first being soon after the place opened. It is really a quirky, gem of a place.

    The food is Indian tapas-style fusion, a term which might normally cause me to run for the hills but which in this case is meant as genuine praise. There is nothing here you would recognize as Indian food, so don't come looking for that. But all of the dishes have an Indian spice or flavor deployed in some subtle, unexpected, delicious way, and satisfying way.

    The specifics of the meal were similar to recent posts. I would praise three dishes which I thought were incredible. The green mango paneer -- don't expect pieces of green mango as this is a subtle flavor that comes through pulverized green mangoes. This is truly an addictive dish, and I will take me at least week to get flavor out of my mind. The watermelon salad is more like an amuse bouche or palette cleanser, but a startling flavor combination -- a small square of watermelon, topped with mint chutney which has been made into a sorbet. The combination of chill and spice is startling and wonderful. Finally, for dessert I had the strawberries -- so far so good, but a hint of truffle oil gives it an unexpected rich/savory flavor and the pepper ice cream chases the flavors off the palette with a bit of bite.

    As others note, the place is tiny so expect to be a little jostled. But the staff, especially chef-owner Mehta, are so friendly that you won't mind.

    Between six people, we took about 14 small plates, along with 4 of the martinis, 3 bottles of wine (all are priced at $25 dollars), one wine by the glass, and one dessert. With a 20% tip we paid 60 each. I've not had such a delicious meal in long while. My palette was abuzz. An incredible bargain at this price...

    BB

    1. financialdistrictresident Jun 5, 2009 07:01 AM

      Went last night around 9 pm for the first time. Walked around the block a few times first because the place looked so claustrophobic. Didn't have a reservation but was seated right away. Luckily at a communal table (with 4 other people and some empty seats) way in the back and against the wall. Terroir and Dirt Candy are "enormous" compared to Graffiti. You could hardly walk in the door and I don't know how the servers do it. The 2-3 tables in front were filled with groups and there is one tiny counter for two across from the tables. Trust me, you want to be seated at the communal table way in the back, to be seated against the wall or people will be literally bumping into you during your meal. It's also pretty loud and noisy - lively :). Okay, so the atmosphere is a real downer . . .now on to the food and service which are very good:

      APPS

      *Green mango paneer and warm pita - wanted to do a "push away," addictive ate all the paneer cheese. A little spicy. Server (she was excellent and knowledgeable) advised green mango is a subtle flavor when I mentioned I didn't really taste the mango in the dish.

      *Foie gras rasberry crostini, salad with walnuts - I never got into PB&J as a kid - maybe they should have given me foie gras spread over rasberry jam on crostini. I generally prefer my foie gras seared. That said, this was very good.

      ENTREE

      *Chickpea crusted skate with mint yogurt sauce and sauteed portabello mushroom - very good. Really like skate. The chickpea flavor and fried skate was very good. Mint yogurt sauce was a good accompaniment.

      DESSERT & ESPRESSO

      *Hazlenut chocolate caviar cupcake with chocolate chip ice cream - asked for my server's suggestion. Strawberry dessert with black pepper ice cream didn't really excite me because I've had a similar dessert before. She suggested the cupcake. Cupcake was warm and had a ? sauce on top. I didn't care for the chip "caviar" on top. I guess I don't like crunchy chocolate like malt balls, etc. The cupcake and ice cream were good.

      Server gave me a complimentary warm macaroon with tres leches sauce. Delicious!

      Glass of wine, two apps, entree, espresso, dessert came to around $50 without tax and tip. I'd love to go back but not sure if I will because the space is so offputting. I might have to go late and put up with it because I really liked the food and service.

      www.graffitinyc.com

      2 Replies
      1. re: financialdistrictresident
        shane Jun 5, 2009 10:29 AM

        Going late may not help. I had to wait for 20 minutes at 11:30 pm on a Friday to get in a few weeks ago. Also, the fact that you literally walk through the kitchen(ette) to get to the restroom is very odd (can that really be code compliant?). Despite the space I did like it very much. And the $25 wine bottles can't be beat.

        1. re: financialdistrictresident
          b
          bob gaj Jun 5, 2009 10:43 AM

          glad you liked it! i went with a friend a few months back, we thought it was pretty good, only problem was the no-backed stools were really tight; we were at a "4 top" table, only 2 of us there, and it was still insanely small.

          the reason i haven't gone back with others is strictly because of the space; my back and legs were killing me when i was done.

        2. p
          Pan Mar 12, 2009 02:21 PM

          The menu is interesting. Two questions: (1) What's the difference in size, if any, between the $12 and $15 dishes on the menu? (2) Are there specials, in addition to the regular menu?

          1. s
            shivohum Mar 12, 2009 11:51 AM

            Agreed. Really wonderful place.

            The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/

            1. h
              hkhungry Mar 12, 2009 08:55 AM

              Wanted to echo the sentiment of the post above – now seven months later just as good.

              Graffiti – Delicious and So Friendly

              So last night we stopped in at Graffiti in the East Village. Fantastic Place. Good Food. Wonderful kind Owner.

              So we got there at 9pm (I had called that afternoon for a reservation). The place was tiny and we were seated immediately at a table. The tables are shared so we were seating with a group of 5 other people who seemed nice but were speaking Spanish so they could have been talking smack.

              We ordered a glass of the Malbec and a Lychee/Prosecco drink. The drinks were very good. Since we were just having a light bite to eat we ordered three dishes. All were great.

              Pork dumplings – I don’t eat the meat but my dinner mate said they were very good and they had some deep fried chickpea flour on top.

              Scallops – These were excellent they seemed almost smoked and then were thinly sliced and served with a sweat pickle. Excellent

              Skate Wing with Yogurt Sauce – The skate wing was delicious and the sauce went with it very well. Strongly recommend.

              Hot Lights:
              Be sure to call for a reservation. Unlike a lot of ‘trendy tiny places’ this place understands people don’t like to stand outside for hours on end. Because it is small you might not get seated without a resy.

              Get the scallops dish. It was very very good and very unique.

              If you have a party of 6-8 then you will likely have your own table.

              Prices are very good. The wine list is so reasonable (all bottles are 25$)

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