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Graffiato by Mike Isabella opening soon...

Thoughts? I hear they are serving his pepperoni sauce from the Top Chef All-Star's finale.

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  1. I seem to recall Gayle expressing some fondness for that sauce.

    1. It's open and DELICIOUS. DC has been hurting for good pizza and now we have it--I recommend the White House (a white pizza with black pepper and honey) or the Market (vegetables, feta, and fried squash blossoms). Other reccs: the sweet corn agnolotti, the carrot farro salad (actually, all the vegetables I ate were fantastic), and the mozzarella. All this is coming from a non-pig eater, so I can't comment on the pepporoni sauce, but other people seemed to really dig it.
      The drinks are great--had a fantastic punch there (right, who drinks punch??? amazing.), and they have little pink cans of Sofia Coppola sparkling white wine.
      The service is great and you can just tell that the people who work there are stoked about the restaurant.
      Graffiato's getting lots of press, so people might start to think it's over-hyped. It's not, it's JUST THAT GOOD.

      707 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

      1 Reply
      1. re: j fish 44

        Had a great meal there last night. Best items were the bone marrow, the escarole/guanciale/potato salad, the onion side, the scallop crudo, and the shrimp.

        Two caveats:

        1. Adds up fast. Although each dish averages $10 or so, most of the protein-based items aren't large. I imagine making a pizza or two (which we didn't get) the centerpiece of a meal would lower the overall cost.

        2. In no time, it will be *impossible* to get in -- especially on nights when there's any event at the Verizon Center.

      2. I won't be going. The danger of a chef driven restaurant is that sometimes the chef's personality turns off the diners.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mer_Made

          I think its somewhat unreasonable to discount a restaurant completely because you are not a fan of the chefs personality. I don't know about you, but I usually go to restaurants to eat. Good food is good food. Period. Regardless of the brashness of the chef.

          1. re: Mgolan

            don't encourage them to go - it seems like we might need to seat space they would otherwise take up!

            1. re: Mgolan

              Wait, you asked in a public forum the reader's thoughts and someone gave one that wasn't joyful, and you weren't happy?

              I'm sorry. It's not you. It's me. We just have different ideas about questions posed on the internet. Let's agree to disagree and move on.

              Now then, buck up! I'm the only one being a fussbudget! I've totally made Jeserf totally happily! That's gotta be worth something.

          2. We went last weekend, and was pretty impressed with the food. Favorites incl. the white house pizza, agnolotti and beets (though I couldn't taste any spice). I was disappointed in the (server recommended - and also reviewer recommended) gnocchi though. Looking at the pizza, I thought I was going to be disappointed too - the crust looked like it was going to suck (kind of like Red Rocks or Pizzeria Paradiso), but it was actually not doughy or chewy; it was almost airy.

            I was disappointed in the draft beer selection - only Peroni and DC Brau, and DC Brau was out. Also pretty disappointed in the chicken thighs being sold out with the famed pepperoni sauce.

            Pizzeria Paradiso
            3282 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

            Red Rock Cafe
            385 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

            1. Went opening weekend - the pastas were the bright spot.

              *fenel salad with fruit - good, needed some more salt or acid or something but I liked it.
              *carrot salad with farro - this was served cold and I wasn't expecting that. The lardo went really well with the carrots and I wish there had been more of it, it was a very small piece. The carrots were very fresh and I liked the different colors, but overall not that exciting.

              *hand cut spaghetti - the spaghetti was really amazing, it tasted much different than "box" pasta. the tomatoes poached in olive oil were succulent. The dish could have used a bit more salt - maybe some more cheese? but I did like it overall.
              *sweet corn agnolotti - this was the most interesting dish that we tried. the pasta was really nice, but the "filling" of the anglonotti was completely liquid. While I was yummy, I wasn't expecting it to be totally liquid. I also couldn't really taste the chantarelles - there were pine nuts, but not much mushroom taste.
              *penne pasta with lamb - this was like a penne pasta bake that reminded me of baked ziti: not too exciting. However, the lamb and the olives were flavourful and not fatty. I feel like that lamb sauce could have been yummier on a different pasta.
              *chicken thighs with pepporoni sauce - ok, I was really excited for the pepperoni sauce and while it undoubtedly tasted like pepperoni, it was also pretty oily (separated on the plate) and it basically tasted like you put some pepperoni in the food processor :( not great.
              The gnocci was sold out :(
              I can't comment on the pizzas because we didn't have one, but the ones I saw coming out of the kitchen looked big enough for 2 people and very nice.

              I would second the reviewer who noted that the bill adds up fast - the portions are extremely small so you have to order at least 3 things each.

              707 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

              1 Reply
              1. re: theamusedbouche

                My husband and I went to Graffiato last night. we did not have a reservation. we showed up at 8 expecting an hour wait. it ended up being about 30 minutes and we got a great seat upstairs looking into the open kitchen. We loved the food. I too was excited to try the pepperoni sauce. It wasn't as outstanding as I expected but it was still great and it's really nice with the chicken thighs. I am a tough pizza critic- I want the crust to be crunchy and this fit the bill. It had a bit of char, a bit of chew, and some crunch. we had a vegetarian version of the gnocci and the corn agnoloitti. Both were stellar. The flavors were complex, the textures interesting- no complaints at all. I'm going back in a couple of weeks and I can't wait.
                If you are not a Mike Isabella fan- sit upstairs. He's downstairs at the pizza oven. But I wouldn't let that stop you from trying the food at Graffiato.

                707 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

              2. I went last night and also thought it was great. Excellent service and a fun atmosphere.
                - Countryman Pizza (black truffles, fontina, duck egg) - by far my favorite dish
                - Gnocchi
                - Sweet corn angolotti
                - Bone marrow
                - Polenta bread
                - Zeppole (fried ricotta balls)

                I will definitely go back.

                1. I went last night and enjoyed it, although it's overpriced, like most places in this town. I ordered a cocktail (bourbon, apricot nectar, basil and candied ginger). The waitress came over with a candle for my table. When she put it down, I realized in horror that it was my cocktail - in a glass about 3 inches high, half full. It was very good, but I was really put off by the size of it. I mentioned this to the server, who said that yes, it was small, but it really packs a punch - well, it didn't. That said, it was delicious, but for $9 I wouldn't order it again. I then ordered a Peroni on draft, which came in what looked to be an 8 oz. glass. Please.

                  We had the chicken with pepperoni sauce and the sweet corn agnolotti - both were very good. I especially like the pasta part of the agnolotti - really fresh and tender. The dish was maybe a tad too sweet for me, but the kitchen really knows how to make pasta.

                  I wanted to order a White House pizza, but my companion wasn't up for white pizza, so we got the Choppin' Broccoli (I'm a Dana Carvery fan - love the name!). Good pizza - I liked the crust, but would have preferred different toppings. It was small - we got 3 small slices each.

                  We left far from full - about 3 hours later, my friend said he was starving.

                  I liked the urban vibe of the place and Mike Isabella was very much present.

                  Also, at one point, we counted 16 employees, most of whom were standing around chatting with each other, and 15 patrons. Strange.

                  Our bill was about $80 including tax and tip - too much for what we had. I'd return, but probably not too soon.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                    sounds like the total celebrity chef rip-off place.

                    1. re: woodleyparkhound

                      This reminds me of when I went there and ordered a beer (can or bottle, can't remember), the server poured it into the glass and obviously didn't know how to pour a beer, because he just dumped it in and I ended up with half a glass of foam. He did this again with my second beer. I hate when people can't pour a proper glass of beer.

                    2. I went there last Wednesday night and I am sorry but it lacked in many areas. I personally found the service overwhelming to the point that it was disorganized. I ordered a glass of lambrusco, which was flat. Then proceeded with the bread basket with the roasted cauliflower appetizer. The bread basket was alright, nothing special and was brought out a lot earlier than the cauliflower dish. The cauliflower dish was indicated to be piping hot/oven roasted. When it was served it was luke warm at its best and oily. We had also ordered the lamb thighs and pepperoni sauce, which never came and forgotten. The pizza was good, but I prefer matchbox-similar style. We finished off with the pistachio ice cream, which was fine. It was very hectic upstairs and the staff seemed not very attentive to detail. Service was almost fast foodish. Overall, would have expected much better and different. Very disappointed and would not go again.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Smiles2008

                        I agree that the service isn't that great here, but fast-foodish is a bit harsh, no?

                        I also think the food is pretty good, but falls short of being great.

                      2. Hi. Has anyone been to Graffiato lately and have any thoughts? I generally shy away from restaurants that are known for their celebrities, and not their food (since I am interested in great food), but am curious if Graffiato has both?

                        I was at dinner with two of my very good friends last night, and they were raving that Graffiato is the "best food in DC right now". I would not classify them as foodies or adventurous eaters, so thought I'd check with chowhounds to see what the impression was among others.

                        (as a sidenote, I would expect bad serve as is typical in DC, but would be interested in hearing if anyone actually had good service).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hppyheather

                          We were there a couple of weeks back. The best we had was pretty good (charcuterie, agnolotti). The worst was downright awful ("Jersey Shore" pizza with soggy fried calamari). It'll be awhile before we go back.