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Nov 3, 2009 07:28 PM

Graffiti Food and Wine Bar - disappointing asian fusion whatever

I went here on a tip from a friend who really likes this place. A friend of mine made an early reservation and we came in to try it.

It's a tiny place in the east village, you can probably fit 12 people in it, but you're literally on top of each other (we actually shared a table with two other people). It's crammed with decorations and is kind of eclectic looking with red brick walls, a chandelier...sort of like someone's living room except with a bunch of tables. It does look sort of cool in its own way, doesn't feel like a restaurant.

There are four people working there, a cook, two servers (who i believe may also be the owners) and a busboy; the kitchen is literally on your way to the bathroom and you walk inches away from the cook.

The food is a modern asian fusion w/ some indian influence (the owners are indian i believe). I'm generally not a fan of asian fusion and this was no exception.

Here's what we got:
- watermelon feta salad, mint sorbet: this was one of those dishes that was way too modern and trying too hard. It's thin slices of watermelon with a mint sorbet on top and feta sprinkled on the side. The mint sorbet was kind of gross and was not what we were expecting at all. My friend ate one and thought it was gross, i ate the rest b/c i was hungry, but this was just bad.
- chili pork dumplings, grapefruit confit: these were ok, they were steamed dumplings with the confit and it was sprinkled with sev (sev is this indian crunchy things they use in chaat normally...hence the indian influence)....this was fine, but nothing special, i can get better steamed dumplings in chinatown for a $1 (literally)
- pickled ginger scallops, candied red chili: this was the best dish of the night as it was actually reasonably good. It was thinly sliced scallops with this chili sauce. I thought it was pretty decent.
- braised pork buns: these were again sort of asian fusion. These were mantou buns (seem to be all the rage these days...funny to me b/c i've been eating them since i was born basically) with a shredded pork topped with these crunchy things that look at like corn flakes (they usually use these in chaat as well). The buns were fine, just normal steamed mantou. The pork was kind of bland and just sort of blehh. The whole dish was whatever really.

We were still hungry, but decided to skip ordering anymore and ended up getting drinks / apps at Ten Bells. It's pretty rare I'm very negative on a place, I think I usually do a good job of screening, but this place was not good and I'm not sure what the hype is over this place (it got great yelp reviews by a significant amount of people), but i thought it was very mediocre and not worth taking your time to go.

here's the yelp review:

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  1. Thanks, Lau. I tend to agree with pretty much all your reviews so although I've been curious, I will scratch Graffiti off my list.

    3 Replies
    1. re: D...DF

      thanks....i was confused by the whole thing b/c it got alot of great reviews, but i just don't see what the hype was over and the dishes we ordered were recomended by the waitress, so i dont think i missed their star dish or something

      i think it might be one of those places where people like it b/c place kind of cool and the food is "different", but at the end of the day i thought the food was just mediocre

      1. re: Lau

        the $25 wine list might also explain some of the popularity.

        1. re: shane

          oh i forgot to mention that....although the wine we had was mediocre, im blanking on which white we had although it was forgettable either way, had one of those twist off caps, know there is obviously a restaurant mark-up, but i get better bottles from the local wine store for $10-15

    2. Lau, thanks for the report. My experience was different. To be fair, I haven't been since summer . . .

      1 Reply
      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        well i dont think that they had an off night, i just think their food was not for my tastes

        to be fair i'm very critical of asian food and more often than not i don't like asian fushion b/c i feel like it just tastes poorly made and often bland version of the original and since i usually know what the original dish they were basing off of tastes like i'm probably very biased. so its obviously possible that others may like it, but it definitely wasn't for my tastes

      2. I am sorry! I have to disagree with you, food is delicious. We have ordered paneer, scallops, burger, dumplings and chacolate cup cake. Every thing was good- but I do agree that place is very crowded and small. Highly recommend to try it out