In the mood for a tasty, not too expensive lunch? Mike Isabella’s Graffiato (707 6th St. NW, 202-289-3600) is just the place to go. Graffiato is a bistro with sophisticated food, nouvelle American but with Italian undertones.
The daily lunch special ($20) offers diners a choice of any three items from a special menu. The menu includes pizzas, pastas, salads, desserts and wines. Any three. At a recent lunch with a friend, we each chose one of the salads. Hers was a delightful chopped salad mix of fresh greens, herbs, sliced radishes, pickled vegetables and bits of ricotta salata cheese. Mine was a terrific salad of marinated cold broccolini topped with a ragout of tomatoes, peppers, crunchy walnuts and feta cheese.
Next, my companion chose a magnificent dish of cheese agnolotti, delicate and airy, perfectly sauced, while I ordered the pizza of the day, quixotically named Jersey Shore. Our Jersey Shore had a lovely thin crust, a smattering of crisp calamari rings and a lacing of spicy aioli sauce. We shared our two dishes and were very happy with both.
Dessert was a caramel panna cotta with hints of chocolate - one serving was plenty for the two of us, as my companion chose a glass of wine as her third option. Lunch couldn’t have been more delicious. Had we not opted for the $20 lunch special, our lunches would have cost $57, had we ordered the same dishes. The prix fixe lunch special is available Monday to Friday in the bar area from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations are accepted.
The regular lunch and dinner menus offer a wide variety of dishes, ranging from a large selection of pizzas and pastas to dishes prepared in the wood oven. The latter include a market fish, scallops, flat iron steak, glazed pork belly and roasted chicken breast, all priced between $10 and $14.
Graffiato is located in Chinatown, across the street from the back of the Verizon Center.