Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grezzo-A Raw Restaurant Review

Many years ago, the Palateers remember breaking bread with passing raw vegans. We found ourselves on the topic of roasted meats, mutton in fact, and the sad truth was these poor souls were in desperate need of some protein. While they lacked luster, the poor vegans were eager to return to their chopped carrot salad. Their pitiful portion of raw carrot salad (which encompassed their entire dinner, and possibly entire diet) is a far cry from what you will find at Grezzo.

Tucked away behind Mike's Pastry, and side by side with the legendary Italian cuisine of the North End, you will find the odd man out at Grezzo. While the atmosphere was urban modern hip with comfortable red chairs, the raw vegan experience is certainly out of the ordinary in this part of town. 

Palateer One to Palateer Two: “What is raw vegan?” 

Palateer Two replies: “Let's check Wikipedia. It says here that 'Raw veganism is a diet which combines veganism and raw foodism. It excludes all food of animal origin, and all food cooked above 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit). A raw vegan diet includes raw vegetables and fruits, nuts and nut pastes, grain and legume sprouts, seeds, plant oils, sea vegetables, herbs, and fresh juices.'” 

Palateer One to Palateer Two: “Wow, that's interesting! But what does it taste like?” 

And that was the query we wondered as we gazed at what appeared to be the most eccentric looking menu we had ever encountered. We looked at such odd entrees as the star anise crusted papaya steak and such appetizers as the house pickled ginger and lotus root salad. Fortunately, the service at Grezzo is extremely friendly and informative, and our ignorance of raw veganism was greeted with lengthy and interesting explanations. Needless to say, we thought ordering a salad would be redundant.

For an appetizer, we selected the Grezzo Sliders ($11). Now friends, remember, nothing here has actually been cooked above 48 degrees Celsius, so when our sliders arrived in burger-esque form, we were at a loss of words of what to expect. We found ourselves blowing on each bite. The sliders were wonderfully scrumptious – kind of like a cold falafel sandwich (with bread replaced by two tomato slices). The patty was a mix of pureed nuts, seeds and vegetables, topped with a freshly made pickle and a slice of avocado and a tangy nut based sauce. The only downside were the “potato chips”, which were actually dehydrated uncooked vinegar soaked potato slices. It tasted like it sounds. Raw.

Even a carnivore would enjoy these sliders
Since we were in the North End, we figured we would try the Native Tomato Ravioli ($19). It was uninspiring – sliced tomatoes with an olive filling. With expectations of real ravioli, we felt a little let down. We also dined on the Lobster Thermidor ($22). We're still trying to figure out that name. Despite its lack of any lobster connection, we did enjoy this conglomeration of flavor. Every bite was unique, from sweetness (papaya and blackberry base) up through tangy (mustard seed cashew cheese) and onto plain old bland (dehydrated cabbage leaves). It was so different, we had to respect it.

Disheartening Ravioli
No lobster, but a flava explosion
For its uniqueness Grezzo has stolen the Palateer Seal of Approval; however, when it came to dessert, we must confessed that we skipped the Apple pave a' la mode and headed to Mike's Pastry for a chocolate cannoli. 

69 Prince St 
Boston, MA 02113
(857) 362-7288

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