Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My review of Des Plaines' Grazie!
Here's my review of the "sprawling banquet and restaurant" Grazie!, located at 1050 E. Oakton Street in Des Plaines. My favorite dish was the fresh grilled calamari, which makes you wonder why anyone ever decided to bread and fry the stuff. Fresh calamari allows you to enjoy the flesh of the fish -- slightly rubbery, chewy texture -- more accurately, and at Grazie it comes bathed in a delicate lemon and olive oil sauce, which wonderfully pairs as a companion to the fresh bread. As I mention in the review, everything at Grazie arrives as a heaping platter, from appetizers to salads and main entrees. I was a bit disappointed with the penne with vodka sauce, which I expected to have more of a kick; instead it was a rather simple tomato sauce, but fell in love with the salmon siciliano (fresh salmon baked with capers, lemon, and olive oil), and the homemade tiramisu. Overall, I enjoyed the opulent decor, the old-school Italian-American shtick, and my favorite: soaking up the delicious sauces with the bread. They have a saying for this in Italian, it's called "Fare La Scarpetta," which, roughly translated, refers to using your little shoe to walk around the plate. In Italy I used my little shoe to soak up the sauce quite frequently, and at Grazie they have this "shoe dance" down pat.