Sunday, October 05, 2008

Grano's

I'm starting to make Saturday night my night out to eat, dutifully making a shopping list to buy provisions to get me through the other six days like most normal people. Actually, I could probably seal myself off in my apartment, like that guy in the Silent Hill 4 game, and live off of what I have there for a week, except that I (hopefully) would not have all the ghoulish stuff happening to me like he did.

I have been meaning to get out to Grano, along the Avenue in Hampden. Everyone I have heard speak about it has raved about the place (to wit: this entry from Chowhound.com), and both the Sun and the City Paper seem to like it. But this is apparently the third restaurant in this location in the last few years. Why is Grano having better luck? Well I can't vouch for the food that was served there beforehand, but the place was always closed during prime dining hours - the evenings and the weekends. No, I don't know why, either. This place, however, is open when people actually want to eat and can do so.

The place is not big, but that alone does not explain the fact that it isn't easy to find seating. I had to sit at the bar (it is a "pasta bar"). Grano's does not serve wine or any other alcohol - it's a BYOB situation. What they do do is cook with it, and I had a wonderful dish of linguine and mussels in a white wine sauce (exactly $12). In that thin but very flavorful sauce was garlic and onion, among other things I could not define. I was too ga-ga over it, as I was for the complementary bread that came before it. I had to ask for a bowl of olive oil, which had tons of whole cloves of roasted garlic steeping in it. I love garlic used this way.

The idea behind Grano, though, is not to offer lots of pre-set dishes (though they do offer those), but pastas and pasta sauces that you can pair up. And it seems to be all about the sauces: marinara, puttanesca, vodka, white wine, etc. There's even a great-looking "calamari Vesuvio" sauce ($14), which sounds right outta Naples (the owner's hometown - Get it? Vesuvius?), but it is not the typical fried calamari, which I would climb mountains to get a plate of, don't get me wrong. It's squid in a rich tomato sauce. I didn't read too much about it since my eyes went for the recommended special.

To finish, I splurged and got a cannolo ($3.50), which had rich and thick cream inside a crispy cannoli shell, all sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Total price for the night's meal: around $16, after tax and before my 20% tip. The service was fast, the staff were personable, and the atmosphere - okay, it's a bit claustrophobic, but they do offer to seat you outside if it's nice out. This is one of the better Italian restaurants in town outside of Little Italy itself.

Grano on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

Julie said...

Everything I've read about Grano makes it sound very charming, and that they have clam sauce that you're ga-ga over makes me want to check it out even more.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting our little restaurant.
Your friends at Grano!