Grace’s has been family owned and operated for three generations. It includes the trattoria and nearby Marketplace, which will be reopening this summer (at 215 East 68th Street) with over 7,700 square feet of retail space, a European-style espresso bar and an open kitchen for cooking classes, dining in and product demos. The Marketplace offers gourmet and specialty foods and has been in operation since 1985. Fun fact: Grace’s Marketplace has been the launchpad where many small, local and artisanal food companies debuted their products; examples include Vitamin Water, Pirate’s Booty, Vita Coco and Pop Chips, to name a few. Who knew?
Our tasting menu began with a tuna and avocado tartare, with mango mole and lotus root. I’m not a fan of seafood, but of course I will always try a bite. The avocado, mango mole and lotus root chips were all delicious, and the tuna, to me at least, became more of a vessel to eat those components of the dish, so I had more than one bite.
Course two was the restaurant’s “Signature Tagliatelle” and had more seafood, but this time Maine lobster, which I do eat sometimes. The pasta was really fresh and delicious, and served in a decadent sauce with morel mushrooms and Spring herbs. Usually I’m not a fan of mushrooms, but the flavor was very subtle and worked well with the richness of the creamy sauce.
Course three was more seafood! For those of you who know me well, I assume you’re feeling very proud of my by now for trying all of this. I won’t lie and say I finished any of these plates, but I did eat quite a bit, especially for being out of my usual comfort zone. This pan-seared Arctic char over Israeli couscous was my least favorite of the first three courses (Jenna and I both thought it was a bit undercooked), but the little salad of asparagus tips with Meyer lemon-pistachio vinaigrette was superb.
Luckily they let us stay for a few hours enjoying all the food and wine, because there was so much, we needed to pause for a moment before the next course! We finally moved on from seafood to a roasted rack of Colorado lamb, with sweet hot mustard, fingerling potatoes and root vegetables. The meat was very tender and tasty although much too large to finish, and I gobbled up all the vegetables in the delicious sauce.