I've been hesitant to write this review just because of how the food at this restaurant was so, well, indescribable. Bite after bite, my confusion grew-- what am I even eating? What does this taste like? How can I possibly describe this to others? It is a restaurant that requires some blind faith and certainly an open mind. But I am getting ahead of myself...
My friend and fellow blogger OmGal and I decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to do a co-post about the same subject from different vantage points. After some thinking about what this subject might be, a bolt of lightning struck when I read about a brand new restaurant in the North End, Grezzo, that served only raw and vegan food. A restaurant that at once appeared foodie and yogi-friendly? Sounded like a natural choice.
As I turned onto Prince St and the aroma of fresh bread and garlic surrounded me on that rainy night, I felt a slight pang of desire for pasta, and the thought of cold and raw food didn't sound so appealing all of a sudden. What would this place be like? Surely it would be relatively empty at 9:30 on a Friday night. Or filled with "birkenstock wearers" as OmGal put it in her blog entry =)
Upon entering the tiny restaurant I realized I was wrong. It was packed, and our "table" ended up being 3 seats at the mini-counter top/bar. My dining companions had already ordered some mojitos, sans the alcohol of course (a testament to my unfamiliarity with the restaurant and vegan food-- I had looked forward to perhaps some wine or a cocktail with my meal. Oops.) They already were ooo-ing and aah-ing though so we were off to a good start.
I could see over the counter the waitress/"bartender" making my blackberry spritzer, spied her mashing the plump blackberries and adding the fresh sage. It was quite refreshing, and tasted incredibly fresh. To start I chose the sweet potato and pink grapefruit soup ($8) which took on an Asian flair with red chili and Thai basil. Instinctively I blew on the soup before spooning it into my mouth, only to foolishly discover it was cold. Oops, rookie mistake #2.
But despite being cold, the soup had a heat of its own from the spices, and was wonderfully flavorful. However, I could not help but think that Wow, this soup would be even better if it were hot!
Next up I had the "gnocchi carbonera": house-made dumplings, creamy rawmesan, and fresh English peas with crispy eggplant and pea shoots ($11). This was the hardest to describe. It really did taste like a cream sauce! But when your fork hit the gnocchi, it crumbled apart revealing its nut based (I think??) insides. Still, while it didn't taste like gnocchi, it was intriguing nonetheless.
We finished with a rich "brownie sundae"with house-made gelato, chocolate truffle sauce, and brazil nut crumble ($11). This was astonishingly good. It had the same richness that you'd expect from a brownie sundae, minus the guilt and the gross overly-full feeling after. Great, great dessert.
As we finished our meals, OmGal and our other companion declared, "I could eat this every day!" While I think it was an excellent meal, and a must-try for any jaded foodie who is sick of tuna tartare and beef short ribs appearing on every menu in the city, I thought: "I could eat this every ... year."