I can't remember how my brother ended up dining at Graffiti a few years ago but he has aked me many times since if I have eaten there yet. We were seeing theater right around the corner so Graffiti moved to the top of the list. What a gem.
We lived in the East Village for years and it has certainly changed from those down and dirty years but in many ways it really hasn't changed that much. A tiny restaurant with maybe 20 seats. Each seat and table is a high set at bar level. The chef, Jehangir Mehta ventured on his own after training at Aix, Compass and Jean-Georges. He is putting out some delicious food in a kitchen no bigger than a closet.
Our table for four was tightly snuggled up to the front window. Most of the other seats are communal eating. When Fred said down he said that he might not be able to go to places like this anymore. After a few minutes, he got over it but I know what he means. Our friends came and we decided to share everything. It was definitely the call since everything is really good and interesting. First thing out was thinly sliced pickled ginger scallops with a candied red chili sauce down the side and crunchy peanuts over the top. On the side was a vegetable Indian bread. So good. Almost everything has a mixture of crunch, sour, spice and sweet.
We went for two types of buns. Cumin seasoned eggplant that was like a mush with slices of crisp fennel over the top with a mixture of a thyme fennel relish. Really interesting. I didn't love the bun part (too bready) but the eggplant was quite good.