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Grazie Ristorante

When I think of Italian restaurants in Washington, I picture; upscale spots  featuring prestigious chefs in metropolitan areas. However, tucked away in the corner of a strip mall near Westfield Mall, (20-minutes south of Seattle) is the hidden treat that is, Grazie Ristorante. My wife and I came here on a Friday evening and were immediately seated. It is a nice sized restaurant that seats around 40, with an open floor plan allowing patrons to see into the kitchen. Listening around to conversation, it was quite evident that there were more regulars than first timers. That evening, there were only two cooks – one cooking and one preparing. It was quite impressive considering it was dinner service on a Friday night.

 

The Food:

crispy garlic shrimp

piatti

 seafood grill

 

The Review:

My wife and I shared the crispy garlic shrimp for the appetizers and then both ordered from the daily specials menu. My wife ordered the Piatti which included sautéed chicken breast, spicy Italian andouille sausage, and penne pasta tossed in a ricotta & pomodoro sauce. I ordered the Seafood Grill consisting of grilled halibut, prawns and calamari on a bed of spinach, sautéed in garlic, butter, and lemon sauce with house pasta.

The shrimp was great. The appetizer came with six huge butterflied shrimp that were flash fried, sautéed with garlic then served with a side of chive aioli and some fried lemon slices. I normally do not opt for shrimp, because I have the notion that shrimp is tiny bite sized little pieces of food, and I prefer to eat something more substantial. However, these shrimp were considerably robust! I can usually eat a cocktail shrimp in one bite, easy… but these all took at least 2-bites! The chive aioli tasted great and helped add a subtle creaminess to the dominance of the shrimp and garlic. I’ve never had fried lemon slices but I decided to try one and they were surprisingly very tasty. I mean, anything deep fried is pretty much a winner in my book! The initial taste of “fried” batter was immediately met and overtaken by the sweet and tart flavor of the lemon itself. Think of it as biting into one of those “Gusher” fruit snacks – with a lemon filling.

My Seafood Grill was very delicious. The halibut was grilled perfectly – it had a nice char on the outside and a very soft and tender meat on the inside. The two large prawns were seasoned and grilled very well – not overcooked and complimented nicely with the garlic butter sauce. One thing I greatly enjoy is calamari; however this calamari steak is the only of the dish that fell flat for me. There wasn’t much seasoning and tasted like plain calamari – slightly chewy with a mild hint of saltiness. I had to rely on the sauce to add some pizzazz. The halibut, prawns and calamari all rested atop a generous bed of spinach and house pasta. I wasn’t blown away by the either the pasta or spinach; both items were cooked well but were more of an “accent” to the main attractions. As a whole, the dish was held together by he garlic, butter and lemon sauce – adding a rich and creamy texture to each item on the plate..

Overall, my wife’s Piatti fell flat. Carrying a nice spiciness that stood out against the average sauce, the sausage may have been the only highlight of the dish. Normally dry, the chicken breast did bring a nice juiciness to the dish. The pomodoro & ricotta sauce tasted mediocre – nothing popped.

 

My Conclusion:

As cliché as it sounds, Grazie is definitely a diamond in the rough. My Seafood Grill plate alone was enough to make me want to come back and try other things from their menu. However, the way the Piatti fell flat, I’d heave caution to pasta connoisseurs.

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