Caffe Grazie: 26 E. 84th st. New York, NY

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My mother took me, my beloved Grandma and my Great Aunt Millie out for restaurant week lunch at Caffe Grazie, and It was a very pleasant experience. Just about everything on the prix fix menu appealed to me, and I had a hard time choosing what to order. I decided to go with the lightest of the 3 appetizer options, so I ordered the gazpacho. It was delicious. So summery and refreshing with the perfect combo of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and spices. I would have loved some (more) cilantro since that’s my favorite herb, but it didn’t really need it. It wasn’t completely smooth, but not really chunky either- which I generally prefer…it was a nice somewhere-in-between. I tried my Mom’s watermelon, feta, brioche croutons, mint, chickpea salad and it was really wonderful. The appetizer I didn’t order, but totally wanted, was the fried mozzarella with yellow and red tomatoes, basil and balsamic…but because I was about to eat steak AND mousse for my next courses, I figured that would really be too much indulgence for one day.

My entrée was flank steak over salad greens with caramelized onions and grilled tomatoes. What a fantastic summer lunch. Filling without being too much. There were only a few pieces of perfectly marinated and grilled steak so it wasn’t overly heavy as a mid-day meal. A very light dressing and the tomatoes and onions were a nice touch to finish it off.

For dessert, I had the VERY rich chocolate mousse with fresh berries. It was a fairly small portion, a good thing in my opinion when you are essentially eating heavy cream in a bowl. There were more berries than mousse and they were perfectly ripe and fresh. The chocolate was dark and the berries lightened it into a somehow refreshing ending to a great meal.

I looked over the rest of the menu and saw so much on it that I’d love to go back for. The atmosphere here is small and comfortable and makes a great spot to go with family. I would consider going back, but without restaurant week prices it’s actually a bit out of my budget, and the reality is that it doesn’t have quite enough wow factor to justify splurging on.

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