In June 2011, Chef Mike Isabella opened Graffiato, an Italian-inspired restaurant in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC. The 130-seat spot allows Chef Isabella to interact with guests while he crafts comforting dishes from seasonal produce and locally cured hams, hand-rolled pastas and marinated vegetable accoutrements. The two-story layout features an open ham bar on the second floor and a large wood oven tucked behind a U-shaped counter with 15 bar stools on the first floor. Both stations encourage dialogue between the guests and chefs.
Chef Isabella serves seasonal, artisanal pizzas and small plates inspired by the food he grew up eating in New Jersey prepared by his Italian-American grandmother. With heavy influence from Chef Isabella’s Mediterranean and Latin culinary training, Graffiato is anything but a traditional Italian eatery. Roasted potato gnocchi with pork ragu, chicken thighs with pepperoni sauce, charred octopus with tomato mostarda and mint, and hanger steak with pancetta and wild mushrooms are a few of the signature wood oven roasted dishes. Broccolini with red pepper relish and smoked beets with sheep’s milk ricotta are popular first plates. When the kitchen closes, the oven will stay fired to feed Washingtonians looking for a late-night bite.
Food, wine and beer are sourced domestically, and often from the East Coast. Look for unique cocktails, domestic wine and Prosecco served straight from a tap.