The appeal of Grazie Italian Cuisine
comes in part from its curious location on Washington Avenue. In a neighborhood of casual eateries and dives, a restaurant that prides
itself on quality of service and food is a refreshing thought,
especially when the prices are more than fair.
On a Tuesday night, that saw more than
half of the 75-seat restaurant occupied, owner Spurgeon Solomon
greeted guests, took orders, delivered food, and cleared wine
glasses. The pride he takes in the establishment, he co-owns with
Moshe Petel, is a rarity to see in owners.
Service is strong, from confident
servers greeting the table and carefully executing the evening's
specials to prompt clearing and crumbing between courses. While the
service and comforting ambiance -- soft background music, just-right
lighting, wrinkle-free linens, rich woods -- is on par with, or
superior to, some of South Beach's hipper Italian restaurants, the
limited selection is noticeable.
Wines by the glass, including a superb
2009 Callaway sauvignon blanc from California and a smooth Ruta 22
malbec from Patagonia, are priced at $11. The sauvignon blanc was
paired with one of the specials, the branzino ($31) that was
pan-seared and served over sauteed spinach in a light citrus sauce
with scalloped potatoes, broccoli, olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes.
The malbec paired nicely with the New
Zealand lamb rack ($29). Eight chops are served four to a rack. The
process begins with a simple rub consisting of olive oil, garlic,
salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Then there is a searing before
being crusted in Italian bread crumbs and pecorino romano. The rack
is then baked and served with a demi glace made from lamb bones,
rosemary, and garlic. The rack of lamb is served with garlic mashed
potatoes. The tenderness of the lamb, which attained the requested
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temperature of medium-rare perfectly, was a truly exceptional rack of
lamb complete with rich flavors.
Grazie Italian Cuisine
701 Washington Ave., Miami Beach