Upon hearing that a new restaurant was opening in Boston’s North End, I barely batted an eyelash. As home to some of the best eateries in the city, one more establishment dishing (albeit delectable) pasta wasn’t about to blow this gal’s hair back. However, when I learned that the new locale would forgo pasta in favor of a completely raw menu, I was intrigued.
For those of you requiring a bit of background information; here’s the scoop, er, the dish:
Raw and Living foods are uncooked, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. These raw foods can be eaten whole or combined to make the healthiest, most delicious meals.
-Alissa Cohen, author of Living on Live Food
While sushi, for example, is technically raw, it doesn’t pass muster, here. No flesh, friends. Got that?
Truth be told, I am no longer a vegetarian and never had a prayer as a vegan. I still err, largely, in the direction of a non-meat diet; however, I’ve found, over the years, a collection of eating habits that work for me, and occasionally, these include poultry or fish. I knew I had to try Boston’s new raw restaurant Grezzo, but with whom? What fun are culinary adventures when experienced solo?
O.G.’s S.O. was S.O.L., as he’s allergic to nuts, and the risk of accidentally offing him was too great in a place where a majority of the menu features nutty ingredients. He may tick me off, but I doubt it’s grounds for murder at the hands of a cashew. So, I had some criteria. I needed a dinner companion who a.) wouldn’t die and b.) might enjoy the unique fare.
My friend and phantom foodie blogger Dish Gal was a natural choice (please note: she’s not phantom to me; she is actually my friend, I swear). She’s scouring the city for savory meals anyway; who’s to say the next one can’t be a cold soup? No sooner had D.G. and I saved the date when a pal sent a serendipitous email wondering whether I’d grazed at Grezzo yet and, if not, would I like to go? Thus, we became a happy threesome- a yogi (that’s me), a foodie (that’s Dish Gal), and a foodie/yogi, our unnamed friend who adores yoga, counts several celebrity chefs among her close personal friends, dines out more than Carrie Bradshaw, dresses a bit like her too, and has a seriously sophisticated palette. She’s eaten blowfish soup, people. Blowfish can be poisonous. Hear what I’m saying?
The evening had all the makings of a raucous girls’ night out, starting with the mojitos. Not to worry, dear readers and friends who have witnessed the debauchery that ensues after I have one meagre glass of wine (ahem, lightweight!); these mojitos were sans booze. Instead, they featured a tasty ensemble of fresh lime juice, mint leaves, agave, and kombucha tea over ice. The result was a slightly effervescent and super-refreshing concoction that I guzzled with gusto.
Next came an onslaught of creatively constructed and flavor-filled appetizers and entrees that were as artful as they were delicious. Several tricks of the mind occurred during this feast, including an exquisite looking salmon steak that was actually papaya; Dish Gal instinctively blowing on her soup to cool it, and my ongoing ruminations about how I would surely be a raw food convert following dessert. In fact, let me tell you about dessert . . .
The crowning achievement of a meal that had already significantly charmed our taste buds, our brownie sundae, not baked but adhering with the use of dates, nuts, and rich cocoa powder (or crack- one can’t be sure; it was so addictive), was scrumptious. In hindsight, the two bookends of the meal- my mojito, along with the chilled squash and coconut soup and the sundae- took top honors.
The intangibles, too, exceeded expectations, with upscale surroundings, inviting staff, and a diverse, discerning, and stylish collection of dinner guests- no Birkenstocks in sight.
As the three gals emerged onto the cobblestone streets of the North End, brimming with good company and food, we assessed our experience and wondered aloud whether we could eat uncooked everyday. The consensus was that we might, if we had a cadre of able raw food chefs on hand to help and a gastronomic pardon on eggs. Grezzo is a must for its innovation, inspiration, and flavor.
Yet, as I walked home, shielded by a raincoat and pashmina from the chilly New England weather, with its gusty winds and drizzling, incessant rain, I thought of what perfect circumstances these might be for a steaming cup of tea and hot, hearty bowl of soup on any other cold, raw night.