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Graffiato, Modern Italian Small Plates In Chinatown - Richmond Location Has Closed

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Mike Isabella has five sisters:

1) Bella

2) Isabel

3) Cinderella

4) Lugosi

5) Liberty

I should probably get a job.

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We are headed here this weekend, not my choice.  I looked in the Washington, DC dining guide to do a little research and didn't see Graffiato listed.  I then realized they recently opened in Richmond and therefore they are now listed in the Multiple Locations section.

Just curious as to where the line is drawn to consider someplace as having multiple locations or is there none.

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We are headed here this weekend, not my choice.  I looked in the Washington, DC dining guide to do a little research and didn't see Graffiato listed.  I then realized they recently opened in Richmond and therefore they are now listed in the Multiple Locations section.

Just curious as to where the line is drawn to consider someplace as having multiple locations or is there none.

[Two or more locations in the same forum, Richmond and Frederick are considered part of the Washington, DC forum (refer to Sticky Rice as well).]

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[Two or more locations in the same forum, Richmond and Frederick are considered part of the Washington, DC forum (refer to Sticky Rice as well).]

I don't know if this should be posted in another forum; if so, please feel free to move it there (but let us know where!).

Indeed, perhaps I shouldn't post it at all, since it's been hashed over before, to no avail . . . but just in case there's some play in the joints . . .

Don, please (pretty please, with sugar on top) reconsider the "multiple listings" policy.  Assuming my usage is at all representative of the Rockwellian norm, it's having really counterproductive effects.  The way I use the Guide, 99% of the time, is that I find myself in, or headed to, a particular neighborhood or town, and depend upon the Guide to inform me of the worthwhile eats there.  Some of the best places are invariably missing (Fishnet ain't even listed in College Park any more!), just because they happen to have one or more locations.  Therefore, they do not become part of my planning, or my conversations with my companions about where to eat.  And, as a result, we miss out on the best a neighborhood has to offer.  At the very least, could you include in the neighborhood listings any spots that you praise with italics or better?  Thanks so much.

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We are headed here this weekend, not my choice.  

Consider doing the tasting menu.  It's a fantastic deal for the amount and variety of food you get.

We've been to Graffiato a few times and the only time I wasn't thrilled by the meal was when we didn't get the tasting menu.  You can customize your tasting menu too.......just tell the server what you like/don't like and they'll tailor it to your desires.

PS - Don, I agree with Marty on the mutliple locations thing!

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Consider doing the tasting menu.  It's a fantastic deal for the amount and variety of food you get.

We've been to Graffiato a few times and the only time I wasn't thrilled by the meal was when we didn't get the tasting menu.  You can customize your tasting menu too.......just tell the server what you like/don't like and they'll tailor it to your desires.

PS - Don, I agree with Marty on the mutliple locations thing!

Thanks for the tip.  I will definitely try to get our group to do the tasting menu.

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I don't know if this should be posted in another forum; if so, please feel free to move it there (but let us know where!).

Indeed, perhaps I shouldn't post it at all, since it's been hashed over before, to no avail . . . but just in case there's some play in the joints . . .

Don, please (pretty please, with sugar on top) reconsider the "multiple listings" policy.  Assuming my usage is at all representative of the Rockwellian norm, it's having really counterproductive effects.  The way I use the Guide, 99% of the time, is that I find myself in, or headed to, a particular neighborhood or town, and depend upon the Guide to inform me of the worthwhile eats there.  Some of the best places are invariably missing (Fishnet ain't even listed in College Park any more!), just because they happen to have one or more locations.  Therefore, they do not become part of my planning, or my conversations with my companions about where to eat.  And, as a result, we miss out on the best a neighborhood has to offer.  At the very least, could you include in the neighborhood listings any spots that you praise with italics or better?  Thanks so much.

[For the 90th time, where's my volunteer to do this? :) I have an M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in database design and management - a cardinal rule is that you don't repeat data. It goes against my grain - now, if someone else wants to volunteer, then yes! If nobody volunteers, there's a good chance I'll get around to this later this year.]

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[For the 90th time, where's my volunteer to do this? :)

See if the guy that the site is named after can do it..........................sorry, couldn't resist  devil-laugh.gif

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I don't know if this should be posted in another forum; if so, please feel free to move it there (but let us know where!).

Indeed, perhaps I shouldn't post it at all, since it's been hashed over before, to no avail . . . but just in case there's some play in the joints . . .

Don, please (pretty please, with sugar on top) reconsider the "multiple listings" policy.  Assuming my usage is at all representative of the Rockwellian norm, it's having really counterproductive effects.  The way I use the Guide, 99% of the time, is that I find myself in, or headed to, a particular neighborhood or town, and depend upon the Guide to inform me of the worthwhile eats there.  Some of the best places are invariably missing (Fishnet ain't even listed in College Park any more!), just because they happen to have one or more locations.  Therefore, they do not become part of my planning, or my conversations with my companions about where to eat.  And, as a result, we miss out on the best a neighborhood has to offer.  At the very least, could you include in the neighborhood listings any spots that you praise with italics or better?  Thanks so much.

This gets my vote too - when I've used the Guide, I've often missed places that are in Multiple Locations, which I figure out later would've been better places to go.

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Went here the other night for the first time and was less than impressed.  To be completely fair to the restaurant, neither my wife nor I were particularly hungry, so we only got one dish each.  She got the hand cut spaghetti, which was fine.  Nothing earth shattering, but certainly not bad by any means.  I had the night's pizza special, which had bacon, broccoli rabe, a soft egg, and white cheddar.  It had a surprising smoky flavor, and was rather salty.  The soft egg added a richness, but didn't impart much egg flavor.  Also not a bad dish, but not particularly compelling.  The décor of the place was kind of odd.  It seems to lean a bit more upscale, but was playing a punk rock soundtrack.  Not that I'm complaining about the punk rock, but it didn't really fit the place or the clientele.

I know there are a lot more dishes to explore on the menu.  I just don't see myself making much of an effort to come back to try them.

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I was at Little Serow a few weeks ago, and Johnny told me he's worked every Valentine's day for 14 straight years, FWIW.

(NB - I hope everyone sees the distinction I make between a "chef" (Johnny Monis, Frank Ruta, Eric Ziebold, Tom Power, Tony Conte) and a "restaurateur" (Ashok Bajaj, Fabio Trabocchi) and/or "figurehead" (José Andrés) - I'm not sure if Mike Isabella is a restaurateur or a figurehead. There's absolutely nothing wrong or dishonorable with being any of the three, but being a "chef" involves running a kitchen. Maybe I'm wrong, but the correct meaning of the word is the standard I use: A "chef" is a position; not a permanent title - Trabocchi, Andrés, and Isabella are all capable of going back to being chefs, but they all chose, perhaps wisely, to leave that profession.)

Not once have I ever wavered on this.

In France, for example, a "chef d'orchestre" is a conductor; not an owner, or PR director, but a conductor who stands up there, in front of the musicians, with a baton, and "chef" is a French word.

Mike Isabella is taking over as full time chef at graffiato soon

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11 minutes ago, funkyfood said:

Mike Isabella is taking over as full time chef at graffiato soon

This is the first post in over twelve years here that has left me without any response.

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2 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

This is the first post in over twelve years here that has left me without any response.

I didn't mean anything snarky by it! Just wanted to share the news since it seemed relevant

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4 minutes ago, funkyfood said:

I didn't mean anything snarky by it! Just wanted to share the news since it seemed relevant

Snarky? If this guy is some artiste who took a few years off to make his fortune, and then returned to his passion after he did it, he's probably the single smartest person I've ever known.

I guess my only response would be, "Are you sure?" and "How do you know?" I have just been stunned into silence.

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34 minutes ago, Bags said:

Richmond location apparently closed...

They weren't answering their phones when I tried to call.

Those are some seriously harsh comments on Reddit.

Thanks for being so on top of this, Bags.

I'm still very curious about the answer to this - does *anybody* have an answer?

FWIW, I was there once, and the pepperoni sauce I loved so much when I first went to the Chinatown location was not identifiable as the same thing - it didn't taste remotely like pepperoni. Here's my original Chinatown review (which Mike apparently got extraordinarily upset about, despite it being one of the fairest, most time-consuming reviews I've ever written). Here's my Richmond review

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28 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Here's my original Chinatown review (which Mike apparently got extraordinarily upset about, despite it being one of the fairest, most time-consuming reviews I've ever written). 

If you can find a Bluecoat Gin & Tonic for $8 anywhere today, please let me know.

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10 minutes ago, dcs said:

If you can find a Bluecoat Gin & Tonic for $8 anywhere today, please let me know.

Noted. I'll remember this, and will let you know (although remember, this was in 2011).

(The drink that came (not Bluecoat) was honestly 50% of the size of a normal cocktail. I also worded that paragraph very poorly - the Bluecoat (which they didn't have) - was priced at $9; I'm not sure what they used for the $8 G&T we received. Sloppy writing like this causes me a slow burn like you wouldn't believe.)

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19 hours ago, Bags said:

Richmond location apparently closed...

19 hours ago, DonRocks said:

They weren't answering their phones when I tried to call.

Those are some seriously harsh comments on Reddit.

Thanks for being so on top of this, Bags.

I'm still very curious about the answer to this - does *anybody* have an answer?

FWIW, I was there once, and the pepperoni sauce I loved so much when I first went to the Chinatown location was not identifiable as the same thing - it didn't taste remotely like pepperoni. Here's my original Chinatown review (which Mike apparently got extraordinarily upset about, despite it being one of the fairest, most time-consuming reviews I've ever written). Here's my Richmond review

tick, tock
tick, tock
Not pick,
tick tock
ing up,
tick tock
their phone,
tick tock
Nothing,
tick tock
is on,
tick tock
Open,
tick tock
Table,
Nowhere,
tick tock
in the,
tick tock
food press,
tick tock
If we,
tick tock
were Pop,
tick tock
Ville this,
tick tock
would be,
tick tock
published,
tick tock,
Have not,
tick tock
made a,
tick tock
mistake,
tick tock
yet in,
tick tock
fourteen,
tick tock
years and,
tick tock
tick tock
tick tock
tick tock
tick tock

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On 6/10/2018 at 9:41 PM, dcs said:

If you can find a Bluecoat Gin & Tonic for $8 anywhere today, please let me know.

dcs, as a point of reference, I had dinner at Hank's Pasta Bar last night. For $12, we got a very mediocre Tanqueray Gin & Tonic - served in what was probably a 10-ounce water glass, 3/4 filled with ice, and with a measured shot (jigger? not sure which side was used) of Gin, and then filled with squirt-gun tonic water - there was nothing special about this at all other than the Tanqueray. I saw a bottle of Bluecoat, and asked our bartender how much it would be for a Bluecoat G&T - he checked, and told me $14.

2 hours ago, dcs said:

Mike Isabella Plans to Close Graffiato Richmond - He's also back in the kitchen at the Graffiato in Chinatown. “I thought I was invincible, and I’m not.”  Written by Anna Spiegel, June 12, 2018, on washingtonian.com, complete with DonRockwell.com name-check.

I've become a softy as I've gotten older, and I believe in redemption - Mike is A-OK with me, even though I'm not the final arbiter.

Anna is one of several journalists in the area that views us as a resource, instead of competition (which we're not - I try my best to accredit all websites that break stories, including the author's name and a link). Ditto Ann, Laura, Jessica, Tierney, Warren and a couple of others. I'm not trying to compete, and I'm world-weary of snapping at journalists that either ignore or don't cite us - I'm just going to keep my head down, stay out of people's way, and try to keep producing the best product I can.

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