Local celebrity chef Clay Conley has just opened up his newest masterpiece, Grato. This is a brand new restaurant in residential West Palm Beach near the Norton Museum. I hate to admit this as a local foodie, but I have never had the pleasure of eating in Chef Conley’s acclaimed restaurant, Buccan (I will definitely be going ASAP) BUT I have been told by EVERYONE that it is one of the best, so really no surprise how fantastic Grato is!
As soon as you walk in the door you feel like you are in a trendy restaurant in Napa Valley or New York City, it has that awesome “happening” vibe that all restaurateurs try to create! We had a 6:15 reservation on Sunday, we were celebrating a family dinner, and thank god for the reservation because the place was absolutely slammed! Bar was packed. Tables were packed. The wood fire pizza oven “bar” was packed. This place has already made it! The atmosphere is intimate and upscale without being overly pricy.
(FROM GRATO’S SITE) With a bustling bar and lounge and a lively, spacious dining room, Grato (which means “grateful” in Italian) is a welcoming, delicious draw for everyone, from residents of the surrounding historical neighborhoods and downtown professionals, to ravenous foodies who know just how serious a chef Clay Conley is. The chef’s dexterity is showcased in handmade pastas and brick oven pizzas, as well as gorgeous main plates cooked over wood-fire in the brick oven, rotisserie or grill. The open kitchen provides a look into the magic show within, the wood-burning oven taking center stage and providing many of the menu’s mainstays.
Now for the only thing you care about, the food!
We started off with a flurry of the small plate appetizers. First, we started with the Fried Calamari which had a cherry pepper salsa on top and a cherry pepper butter on the side for dipping, spicy and delicious! Next we ordered the crostini’s, which were: Buffalo Ricotta | tomatoes; Chicken Liver | pickles, radish; Beef Carpaccio | horseradish, balsamic onion; and Parmesan Fonduta | grilled zucchini, black truffle, respectfully. We also had the Crispy Fresh Mozzarella | spicy tomato sauce and the Herb Roasted Cauliflower | “cacio e pepe”. Highlights for me were the roasted cauliflower and the calamari!
For the main courses, a few of us shared so we could order and try a few of the main courses. For pasta, we had the Bucatini Carbonara | bacon, ham, egg and the Herbed Penne | braised lamb, mint, yogurt. Chef make all of his own pasta and all of his own sauces. The pasta was absolutely out of this world amazing and packed with both classic and bold flavors. My favorite for sure was the bucatini! In addition to the pasta dishes, we also had the bone-in veal parmesan which was out of this world!
We did try one of the pizzas, the waiter told us we HAD to try! So we followed his recommendation and got The Dak | white pizza, onion, ham. Simply amazing! Amazing sauce, in-house cured ham and a perfectly charred crust!
As good as all the food was, the service was even better! He made some great suggestions both on the food and wine selections and was extremely tentative to our party. I will definitely be back and be back often! If you are an Italian food lover or just love Chef Conley, then get your butt down to Grato tonight!