Grappino is the fourth local restaurant for the Aielli Group, following the success of Sea Salt, Barbatella and Dorona.
Grappino carves its own niche in the Aielli’s Italian offerings with its Roman-style pizza, salt-roasted chicken and its impressive selection of grappa, the popular grape-based pomace brandy that inspired the restaurant’s name. But, the “Il Grano” section of the menu, which allows guests to create their own entrée combinations from separately priced lists of pastas and sauces, stands out here. “There are 13 different sauces and 13 different pastas. There are 169 possible combinations you can do. You can switch and mix and match,” said Jason Goddard, Aielli’s corporate chef. Selections of cavatelli, linguine, pappardelle, pennette and spaghettini join veal-stuffed ravioli and four-cheese tortellini and other semolina, egg and dry pastas.
Deciding from the variety of sauces is most difficult with choices such as classic marinara, meaty Bolognese, spicy Diavolina, cheesy Quattro Formaggi, veggie Primavera and many other inspired possibilities. The Roman-style pizza from Grappino’s brick oven is different from Barbatella’s Neapolitan-style pizza. “The Roman pizza is nice and crispy yet airy and fluffy,” Mr. Goddard said.
The menu features 10 choices each of Rossa and Bianca — red and white — with or without tomato sauce. The rectangular specialty pies are available in three sizes.
Half or whole chickens lead the seasonal offerings for meat and fish choices. The free-range birds are salt-cured for 48 hours and then roasted whole, seasoned with only salt and olive oil. “It’s very rustic but a nice, simple chicken,” Mr. Goddard said. “You don’t have to do very much to it. It’s one of the best-tasting chickens I’ve had in a long, long time.” Protein choices also include wine-braised Wagyu beef, a slow-roasted Kurobuta pork shoulder, boneless whole branzino and a Tuscan seafood stew.
Appetizers feature many options for bruschetta, risotto, salads and charcuterie and cheese plates.