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The Early Word on Avant-Garde Spanish Cuisine at Graffit

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Krieger, 12/15/10

Three weeks ago, well known Spanish chef Jesús Núñez opened his first New York restaurant Graffit, featuring a range of tapas and some avant garde molecular Spanish style cooking. There's a graffiti theme, some provocative works of art, a gorgeous glassed in dining room out back, and a menu that probably pushes some boundaries on the staid Upper West Side. But is it going over well in these early days? Let's find out:

The Bad News: An Eater commenter weighs in: "Went last night for dinner. Thought we'd sample a range of dishes. The room is beautiful, but things went downhill from there. No one bothered to explain that the tapas menu was for the front of the house and the dinner menu was for the back. So when we, sitting in the back, asked for tapas, it was sort of an issue. The staff is frantic and overly ethusiastic. But worst of all -- the flow from the kitchen was extremely uneven. It took well over 90 minutes for 6 small plates to come out! And, sad to say, they weren't no where worth the wait. Interesting ideas, but the execution.....maybe they just need some time to work things out. But, definitely not a promising beginning." [Eater Comments]

The Over the Top Great News: A seasoned Yelper offers a rave: "We came here last night and can I just say WOW!!! I think it may be my new favorite tapas place in the City! Move over Tia Pol! This is the order of how I liked everything: - Croquetas De Jamon- these ham little potato balls were so moist and flavorful! - Empanadillas De Vieiras Y Mejillones, these savory spanish pastry stuffed with scallops, leeks and mussels were out of this world. We had two orders that were gone in like 3 minutes. - Arroz Caldoso Con Bogavante Y Azafran, this was a creamy saffron rice with lobster and assorted vegetables, also very, very good. - Albondigas De La Abuela- meatballs = GREAT. - Gambas Al Ajillo- these were good, but my least favorite of what we ordered. We also had an Octopus dish that was amazing. We had dessert, can we say homemade marshmallows? YUMMMMM." [Yelp]

The Merely Okay News: Another Eater commenter is not totally wowed: "Went for tapas at the bar - we were very exited to try Jamon Iberico... Yes, it was the best in the city, but it wasn't much at all for that price. This was probably the best dish on the menu. We also sampled 6 tapas/apps, and all were merely ok – too "deconstructed", too small, too cold, not enough real Spanish flavors on the menu. I think the chef should add more authentic dishes to his repertoire." [Eater Comments]

The Incredible News: The sole Menupages reviewer is a huge fan: "This is food heaven! Every dish the four of us ordered was remarkable. If you like small plates there are 14 tapas and 11 appetizers to choose from. We recommend: Savory Carrot "Cake" Creamy Saffron Rice Not-Your-Average-Egg (the white is cauliflower) Oxtail Ravioli Beef Cheeks Great food, delightful ambiance, attentive service. Go!" [MenuPages]

The Not so Great News: Another Yelper had an off night: The menu, as well as the concept of the restaurant, promises edginess & excitement. None deliver. It fails me to understand the graffiti All night, the kitchen struggled keeping the food hot, and I struggled with getting it on my fork - it was difficult to eat. The elaborately-deconstructed dishes did not have a purpose at all, and only interfered with my multiple tries of getting it off the plate and into my mouth. From all the dishes my husband and I tried, the star of the show was Jamon Iberico, but why it was served on an extra thick bread slice with tomato paste and olive oil, sandwich style, I will never understand. Other dishes were forgettable, and not on par with the restaurant's promise to deliver exciting Spanish food." [Yelp]

The Really Good News: Find Eat Drink leaves the following tip on Foursquare: "'The Spanish Cup' & 'Beet Goes on' cocktails are really good. Tortilla Espanola for tapas. Not-Your-Average Egg is great!" [4Sq]


141 West 69th Street, New York, NY 10023 646-692-8762


141 West 69th St., New York, NY