After working in some of NYC's finest restaurants, including Jean Georges and Compass, chef Jehangir Mehta has recently opened a humble, 18-seat savory/sweet eatery of his own. Located in the East Village, Graffiti is a visual scrapbook of his life; the menu a culinary scrapbook of both his Mumbai upbringing and expansive training. His unique cuisine subtly marries contemporary Asian cuisine with Indian seasonings. - restaurantgirl
Graffiti is a tiny restaurant that to me epitomizes the East Village life: trendy, cool and tiny (jam packed with people, providing no personal space). I'd read about it online and was intrigued. It was a bit of a surprise when I walked in with V for dinner one evening: the restaurant has three tables.
Even more confusing is that though there were two open tables, we were seated at the one table with guests already dining and the server asked them to get up to put us back the the far corner of the table. We definitely weren't ready for that. But after a bit, it began to make sense: the other tables were reserved for larger parties, and the communal style is part of the experience. It was a little tight to fit together on one side of the table, but it wasn't too bad overall.
The food is served tapas style with simple pricing: each dish is either $7, $12 or $15. The wine is all $8 by the glass or $25 for bottle. The prices are reasonable but they definitely can add up. Our total for the meal was about $100 (including a bottle of wine)
We ordered a handful of different small plates including the cheese flat-bread, chili pork dumplings with grapefruit confit, pickled ginger scallops, and the braised pork bun which was probably our favorite dish. It had a puffy and soft little "shell" with the braised pork inside. For dessert we had the Hazelnut chocolate caviar cupcake after seeing our neighbors try it, and it definitely didn't disappoint.
By the time we were at dessert, the restaurant was packed. I needed to get up to go to the bathroom, so I had to have the people next to me get up, and then make my way through the kitchen (which is smaller than the kitchen in my apartment. Edging behind the two cooks, I got to the bathroom, which itself it about the size of a toilet (in fact the sink is mounted above the toilet to save space). It made me feel at last like I have a large apartment! Hooray.
I'm not sure who else I'd bring to Graffiti, it's a place that definitely caters to a certain type of customer - one that fits well here in the Village. In fact one group of older people came in on a reservation but decided it wasn't quite right for them and left. It worked for me, and I think by the time we finished the dinner V had been turned too.