Eclectic, international, sweet, savory, and bold are adjectives used to describe Jehangir Mehta’s food and wine bar, Graffiti, on 224 East 10 Street. The cuisine is full of foreign tastes and spices, like that of chilies, fennel, and turmeric. It is the union of Asian, French, and American ingredients to create unique small plates designed for sharing with flavors that give your senses a check.
The Next Iron Chef 2010 runner-up, chef and owner, Mumbai-born Mehta offers a cozy and intimate setting where guests will often share table space with those who start out as complete strangers and, by the end of the meal, are foodies all brought together by the smorgasbord of exotic and different flavors. “That looks delicious, what is that? Ok, we’ll take one of those,” or “Have you tried the strawberries and pepper ice cream? I come here just for that!” are phrases exchanged at the table. Oh, and if you have to use the bathroom, prepare to get a little up close and personal with some of the cooks as you have to walk through a tight and minute kitchen to get to the restroom. This experience only adds even more authentic flavor (of a different kind) to the restaurant.
The food is reasonable with three simple pricing categories. Appetizers like the green mango paneer or desserts like the hazelnut chocolate caviar are in the seven dollar range. Zucchini hummus pizza, watermelon feta salad, and pickled ginger scallops are some of the items you will see in the twelve dollar range, and finally, for fifteen dollars, you may enjoy chickpea crusted skate with a mint yogurt sauce, green chili shrimp, or the signature Graffiti chipotle mayo burger with fingerling potatoes. All dishes are distinctive and creative and inspired by fruits, spices, and Mehta’s favorite ingredients. His wines are twenty by the bottle and eight by the glass, with about seven different choices of reds and whites. The menu can also be modified for those who are gluten-free or vegetarian.
What’s pretty astounding is that some of the most exciting and exotic plates in New York City come from a 50 square foot kitchen. Mehta’s dishes have been featured in the New Yorker and Vogue as well as other culinary magazines. He has also made multiple television appearances including the Martha Stewart Show and the Food Network.