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Graffit/Upper Westside

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  • trav Dec 19, 2010 01:17 PM
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Anyone reports of dining at Graffit? This is Spanish chef Nunez's restaurant on Amsterdam and 80th?

141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

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  1. I was extraordinarily disappointed in the dish he presented at the New York Magazine "TASTE" fest - whipped cod a a cracker with a few different toppings. Perhaps there was some intellectual element that escaped me, but there was certainly no visceral reaction to it. It was really no more than an hors d'oeuvres you might see passed around at a wedding. Was surprised that this "enfant terrible" used something so blah as his calling card to try and garner interest.

    That said, he's got quite the reputation, so I'll withhold judgement until I see some reviews, then decide if I'm gonna go or not - but that plate he prepared for the fest didn't make me want to be one of the early test cases, that's for sure.

    1. Went last week end for tapas. Stunning space, great vibe.tapas was good, not mind blowing.drinks good. Service was good considering it was a new place, a few issues, drinks were forgotten, bread stale, they did make good on it though. Will come back for dinner. Great addition to the neighborhood.

      1. The new place on Amsterdam is Tolani ... haven't been there yet, but it's on my list.

        Graffit is across the street from my building [W69th b/w Col & Bwy], so I've been watching the construction in anticipation. I've been twice this week, had one tapas plate each time, and have tried a bunch of their red wines. I went in last night, the bartender Chris remembered my name, remembered what I drank the other night. I had the octopus dish ... kinda like a slice of octopus pound cake ... and some sort of seafood empanada thing. Both were pretty good. The wines have been very good ... typical price for the neighborhood, in the $10/glass range +/-

        Very happy to have this addition to my neighborhood. The place is beautiful, gleaming white bartop, graffiti on the walls. Not too noisy, good place for conversation.

        410 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

        141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

        2 Replies
        1. re: Marine Engineer

          Tolani is very good by the way. Food is very good and the wines are much better than what they are pouring at a few of the competitors in the hood. Looking at the combo of food and wine Bin71/Wine and Roses can't touch them. Tangled vine is closer but still a bit behind

          410 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

          1. re: msny98

            I totally agree. I've been to Tolani a number of times, the lunch is great. 2 courses for $15, I was there last Wednesday and had a huge bowl of butternut squash soup and the burger, it was a lot of food. Went for supper with some friends, we did a cheese platter, the goat curry and the giant meatball. Pretty good. Also, from 5-7 they do a happy hour thing, with each glass of wine you get one tapas plate, couple of selections. The space is great, and the friends I've brought there have all liked it a lot.

            410 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

        2. Ate there on new year's eve with about 7 other people, so we got to taste quite a few of the items on both the main menu and tapas menu.
          I'll talk about the general experience first. There was a $120 tasting menu set for the evening, which we opted out of, because we wanted to try as many things as possible and weren't interested in the entrées. This was a good decision, because we made it out of there for about $70 per person with a few drinks each. There was a complementary glass of sparking wine at midnight, along with a skewer with 12 grapes (a Spanish tradition for new year's?)
          The service was typical for a newly opened restaurant - eager but clueless. We had an 11:00 reservation, and were informed at about 11:50 that the kitchen was closing. When we tried to order a dessert at 12:15, we were turned away. Other issues: the waitress recommended the fried squid spheres, so we ordered it, only to be told they were out of it. After ordering another item to replace them, the squid spheres arrived, along with the additional item. We were charged for both.
          On to the food. Many hits with a few misses. The savory carrot "cake" was a resounding success- more like a carrot pudding, whipped with an amazing texture. Another favorite was the tortillas de patatas. A re-thought tortilla served in a martini glass, it had whipped potatoes on the bottom with onions in the middle and a egg and olive oil foam on top. It had all the flavor elements of a classic tortilla, yet it was truly unique. Pulpo a Gallega was beautiful to look at and a nice consistency, but the flavor was nothing too memorable. The bocadillo de calamares was the worst dish of the night. Thickly breaded large rings of fried calamari on a simple round bun with aioli were neither texturally exciting or flavorful. The recommended squid spheres were also unremarkable, crisp but cold with a too fishy aftertaste. Oxtail ravioli were a big hit with tender oxtail inside simply dressed but delicious ravioli.
          Confit of artichokes with serrano ham and clams was an unlikely but delicious dish, the headlining artichokes the least interesting of the trio.
          Also a big hit was the "not your average egg", which consisted of an egg yolk, still runny, encased in a "egg white" made from cauliflower puree. Nestled in a bowl of perfectly prepared vegetables with a delicious but light broth, it was a delicious addition to our meal.
          I unfortunately can't report on any of their sweet tapas / desserts because the kitchen closed before we could order them. The wine list was ample with bottles of various prices, however our waitress was not knowledgeable enough to recommend suggestions. We picked a few glasses off of the wine pairings from the tasting menu and were happy with our selections.
          All in all, I think it has promise, but needs a bit of polish and menu tweaking. Worth a visit. If you try an entree, let me know what you think.

          1. Ate there on Saturday night. To mirror many previous comments about this restaurant: the place has HUGE potential but needs to work out a lot of kinks. Place looks great, very downtown vibe. Service was very friendly, but top to bottom was clueless. Food was generally excellent, but a number of the dishes were served cold/room temp. Of the 8 items we ordered (4 people each had an app and a main course, all "hot" items) - at least 3 were served room temp - had to be sent back. Again the food was really good, but they have to figure how to run a restaurant - front and back of house...

            1 Reply
            1. re: BKAL

              Agreed. The food was cold to luke warm and there were not that many tables occupied in the joint. The place is beautiful and some of the drinks were exceptional but the food left a lot to be desired at this point. There are four to five separate menus which is just annoying. The kitchen seems to be far more interested in dotting sauces into micro points of pretty formations (that serve no purpose due to their lack of substance) than to the quality of the dishes. If you venture there, stay away from the ham and cheese balls, the non-diablo shrimp and the grand mother"s meat balls( I think that is what he calls them).

            2. It was like watching fireworks on TV - all sparks and no bang. Everything they brought to us looked incredible, but fell short as soon as we pick up our forks.

              Cocktails: The beet cocktail was delicious, an alcoholic juice bar drink. The UWS, a riff on a Manhattan, was just ok.

              We started off with the "not your average egg". It was the best dish of the night. The broth was great and putting an egg yolk in a broth, how can you go wrong there? The cauliflower "shell" added nothing to the dish and the spoons they brought for the broth were all form and no function. You couldn't actually get any of the broth into the spoon. We ended up mopping up the broth with the sesame baguette.

              Next up was the carrot cake, my underrated vegetable of the year . I think you get them five ways on that plate (cake, puree, tempura, confit, marmalade). And with cheese on top! When’s the last time you had carrots and cheese?

              Unfortunately we’d already hit the peak of the meal and three dishes to go. Next was a lobster appetizer with pimenton. The lobster was so ridiculously overcooked that we left a few bites on the plate instead of spending the effort to chew them. We also had the migas el pastor with chorizo and pancetta. There wasn’t actually any pancetta in the dish. What they called pancetta was actually tempura battered pork belly. I love pig, but I couldn’t get through half of this dish because it was so heavy. The chorizo comes with bread crumbs that have been fried in chorizo fat with a poached egg on top. An egg yolk on top of all that pork fat was too much for me.

              Our entree was the rainbow scallops on a green risotto. You get four scallops that have been marinated in four different liquids – saffron, beet, pimenton and squid ink. Unfortunately they all taste exactly the same. The green risotto was solid, but we left half of our scallops.

              I don't think we'll be back anytime soon.

              141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

              1. Highly recommend it! My boyfriend (who is from Seville) and I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner that we had at Graffit this past weekend. He vouched for the authenticity of the dishes and ingredients, as well as the restaurant's atmosphere, and he can't wait to go back to have another "home away from home" experience. We had entrees this time (all delicious), and will be heading back soon for an evening of tapas. The service could not have been better - everyone was friendly and attentive. The restaurant was full, and we're hoping that it will be a hit so that we can keep coming back!

                141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

                1. Overall, definitely worth a visit. Food is totally inventive, and hits far more than it misses. Have been there twice, and really only had 1-2 dishes that were not at least good. That being said, as others have noted, there are still some kinks to work out. The first time I was there the service was spot on and added to the experience. The second time, not so much. And, as others have noted, often the dishes come out not quite piping hot. However, the concept is amazing and the decor/ambience works perfectly. Would definitely recommend this restaurant, especially for any "foodies" out there who like to try new things. Personally, I found the highs just as high as at WD50 with nowhere near as many misses. I will definitely be going back and am also looking forward to trying brunch sometime.

                  141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cubicles


                    Could someone pls post the dishes they liked most (And the ones they did not like) at Graffit? We plan to dine there in a week.


                    141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

                    1. re: sidd

                      1) savory carrot-cake: simple amazing; carrots presented in many different forms and the "carrot cake" itself is simply wonderful.
                      2) not-your-average-egg: playful and tasty; a must-get
                      3) artichokes: not as creative as some of the others, but overall a solid, tasty dish
                      oxtail ravioli: pasta cooked perfectly, great flavor
                      4) beef cheeks: HUGE portion; flavor is very good but waaay too much for one person, both in amount and just overwhelming flavor of meat
                      5) the sea scallops are usually a special that is recommended: pretty underwhelming in my opinion; looks cooler than it tastes; the risotto it's with was mushy/overcooked

                      overall I feel that the appetizers are the highlights. some are also quite sizable, almost as large as the entrees. you should plan to share most dishes, as it is fun to try a bunch of differnt things, and the unique/strong flavors can at times overwhelm if too much of one dish is consumed.

                      for desserts, the chocolate fritters are to die for; a very small order, but truly excellent. if the white rum canneloni are available (they weren't last time i went) they are also worth getting. the "apple pie surprise" while interesting and certainly visually appealing, just didn't measure up. similarly, the "chocolate textures" didn't quite work, and the "study of spanish moscatel" was more interesting than good.

                      hope this helps and hope you have a great time!

                      1. re: sidd

                        The last few times we went for tapas. The one that stands out in my mind is Txistos (version of pigs-in-blanket). Delicious. Also loved the Jamon de Bellota.

                    2. I ate at Graffit about a month ago. It is located at 69th Street just east of Broadway. The meal and service were great. The food in modern, inventive and whimsical without being precious.
                      My husband had fish and loved it. I had two appts. and dessert. They also have a bar area at the front of the house where you can drop in for small plates. Give it a go. If you like interesting food in a charming setting, you'll be glad you went.

                      141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

                      1. We went last night, and here's my take: space is gorgeous, food is sub-par, and the service was lackadaisical at best. There were 4 of us, with a reservation. We got seated 25 minutes late, even though the place was packed, and even with a reservation, we were put at one of the bar tables rather than the nice back dining room.

                        We ordered 4 tapas, and then each of us ordered from the tasting menu. Overall, I was visually disappointed that all of the dishes basically involved, as someone below said: dotting sauces into micro points of pretty formations (that serve no purpose due to their lack of substance). They were all the same sauces on basically of the dishes--something reddish (roasted red pepper, maybe?), something green, and something gel-like. It was like the early '90s threw up on the plates. As for the taste, I can only comment on what I ate:

                        Patatas Bravas: Aside from the aforementioned "sauces," the potatoes were poorly cooked. Most were undercooked (as in, basically raw), and none were crunchy. No spice to the sauce, either. Very disappointing.

                        Tortilla Espanola: This was the highlight for me---despite the unidentified gloop on top. I thought the flavors were good, and I enjoyed it.

                        The others at my table got the empanaditas and the arroz with lobster. See: tri-colored sauces, again.

                        Main menu. Before getting to the dishes, I should note that it was a good 35-40 minute wait for these dishes after the tapas, which came out relatively quickly. Also not quick--our drinks. Each time my cava came, it had been sitting on the bar long enough to lose most of the bubble. Our friendly but clueless waitress assured us the food was "coming soon." Eventually, we asked a manager, and lo and behold...we got our food:

                        I went with two appetizers, the carrot cake that someone below raved about and the squash soup. The carrot cake COULD have been great, but as it was cold, it tasted like the carrot souffle I have bought at Supersol. The soup itself was good, though could have used some acid. The bacalao was rubbery.

                        My tablemates got the scallops (undercooked), the suckling pig (terribly underseasoned), and the filet mignon, which--after the waitress made a big deal out of the bone marrow ravioli--came out without the ravioli. By this point the night had become humorous in how badly everything went. The not funny part: the bill.

                        On a related note---Tolani was excellent! Inventive, great space, can't wait to go back.

                        1. Here's Sifton's one star review.


                          1. I had dinner here a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The service was spot on. It may have helped that we had an early reservation to make it to a 7:30 show. I thought the plates were absolutely beautiful and appreciated that the food and presentation is very different than most of what is going on in NYC these days.