The Top Chef All-Star opens the Italy- and Jersey-loving Graffiato.
By Nevin Martell
Mike Isabella has an impressive résumé cooking for the likes of José Andrés and a colorful reality TV legacy. With the opening of his first restaurant, Graffiato, the brash and beloved chef now has the chance to show off his considerable chops to a real world audience on his own terms.
His casual Penn Quarter eatery combines elements of his Italian heritage and his Garden State upbringing. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that Bon Jovi will be blaring over the sound system while The Godfather 3 is projected on the exposed brick walls. Instead, it means that the menu showcases a creative cross-section of classic comfort foods and inventive, modern cuisine. Patrons can stay on more familiar ground by ordering wood-fired pizzas, housemade pasta and zeppoles (the fried dough balls aren’t listed on the menu and are available in very limited quantities, so get your order in early). Or they can go a little farther afield with dishes like king crab legs with sea urchin and chicken thighs with Isabella’s already-famous pepperoni sauce from Top Chef All-Stars. Either way, it sounds like Isabella is serving up a winning combination.
Graffiato’s first official service is Thursday, June 23 at 5 PM. To make a reservation, call 202-289-3600 or book online.