Last month, a friend and I dropped in at the bar at Grappa 72 for a bite to eat. It was a Tuesday night and they appeared to be a bit busy, but I got the impression it was more a function of inadequate staffing rather than a glut of patrons. The bar is a comfortable space which lends itself to informal dining whether solo or accompanied. Outdoor dining is also an option and, despite the slightly awkward location of this place, it seems like it would be fairly quiet.
Now, for the food…it was fine. There wasn’t anything to specifically object to, but there also wasn’t much to command accolades. We started with a salad and an eggplant appetizer and I think I was the winner here with my arugula salad and prosciutto. It was simple and fresh with a pile of tender prosciutto. I had no complaints, but it certainly was nothing I couldn’t have made as well at home.
A’s eggplant, or Melanzana as they called it ($9.99), didn’t come close to the Jim Rua eggplant that I adore. It lacked color and variation in texture and simply looked uninspired on the plate. What do you think? The eggplant was kind of limp and I wished for a hint color to the cheese to indicate some time spent under the broiler – or maybe something green to garnish the plate?
The entrees were consistent with their lack of embellishment or attempt to visually appeal. Here’s A’s veal entree.
He has enjoyed this dish in the past, but admitted that it didn’t really ring any bells for him that particular evening. I’ve never been a veal eater, and there was nothing particularly enticing to me, so I didn’t even try it.
I asked for a recommendation and indicated I was feeling decidedly pasta-ish. I was served a generous plate of pasta and clams, as you can see. I barely put a dent into my meal because it was…boring. There was no lemon-y zing or brininess or assertive flavor to be acknowledged. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very exciting. It screamed for some crushed red pepper or sea salt or a chiffonade of some seasonal herb or something.
We didn’t bother with dessert. I abandoned my leftovers in the parking lot’s trashcan when I realized that they had leaked everywhere and, despite my car having recently returned from the beach, I was unwilling to bring that mess inside my wagon. So – it was ok. Nothing offensive, but nothing to stimulate my taste buds either. I wouldn’t be opposed to going back to Grappa 72 , but there is a reason I find myself consistently a Cafe Capriccio where the only C present is in the name, not the grade I would ultimately be forced to assign.