Restaurant Review – Graft

516 Grayson Hwy
Grayson, GA 30017

We live north of Atlanta kind of out in the boonies.  The nearest restaurant is Waffle House, not exactly a foodie paradise.  So we were very excited when a new restaurant opened about 15 minutes from us.  Graft opened a few months ago and is trying to be more of a foodie type restaurant.  They are sourcing vegetables locally and even growing some of their own.  They change their menu monthly and try to stay with in-season food.  They are in what use to be the Grayson House and have done a magnificent job with the renovations.  They gutted the inside and reclaimed a lot of wood to make tables and benches.  They have really made the restaurant feel like a cozy, beautiful cabin.  It has a great warmth and feel to it.

We have now been to Graft four times, 3 times for dinner and once or brunch.  The food is good, not great, but good with hints of greatness.

Perfectly seared grouper sitting on a bed of delicate butternut squash risotto and frizzled onions

On one visit, I had the pan seared scamp grouper with caramelized onions and butternut squash risotto. The grouper was perfectly seared with a nice crust on the outside and beautifully cooked to medium, medium well in the inside. The risotto was a little too thick but had perfectly sweet, bitesize pieces of butternut squash. The caramelized onions were more like frizzled onions but I actually loved the crunch they provided. They were a perfect accompaniment to the dish just not exactly what was described.

A beautifully fragrant broth surrounds perfectly cooked mussels, claims and grouper

My hubby had the pappardelle with mussels, scamp, roasted tomatoes, fresh herb cioppino and fried gulf oysters. It was a magnificent dish, except for one problem. There were no fried oysters and that happened to be the reason he picked the dish When we asked about the fried oysters, they said they had run out and stopped putting oysters on this dish. I’ll get back to that issue later. The dish, however, was fantastic. The broth had herbal notes, a base of fresh tomato and brininess of the seafood. It was absolutely perfectly balanced and the type of broth you just want to dip slice after slice of bread into. The fish was nicely cooked and quite abundant.

Crisp fried chicken sits on a fluffy, white biscuit topped with a perfectly poached egg and lightly dressed with a lemony, jalapeno hollandaise sauce

Graft started serving brunch about a month ago. They have a small but varied menu. I chose the oh so bad for me but oh so good, fried chicken Benedict with jalapeno hollandaise sauce. The dish starts with a fluffy, white biscuit topped by 2 small fried chicken tenders, then a perfectly cooked poached egg and dressed with a lemony, jalapeno hollandaise sauce. The Benedict was spectacular. I would have loved a little more hollandaise to smother on every bite but that would have been overkill. The Benedict was served with hash browns that had obviously been sitting for a while. They were almost cold and no longer crispy. It was a shame given how good the Benedict was.

Crispy potato hash browns mingle with small chunks of chorizo and topped with fried eggs.

My hubby had the chorizo and potato hash with fried eggs. Now his hash browns were hot and crispy and flavored delicately with the spiciness of the chorizo. His eggs were slightly overdone so he did not quite have as much of the yolk to mix in. It was a flavorful nice plate though.

One thing we like about Graft is their portion size. It is appropriate, a real serving size. They are not trying to serve huge plates of food but are trying to serve good, healthy food. They usually have specials and one night we had a most magnificent seared duck breast with scalloped potatoes and brussels sprouts. It was date night so I decided to forgo the picture but I can still taste a forkful of the duck, potatoes and brussels sprouts. All the flavors mingled together to make an incredible bite.

All in all we are happy with Graft. Our only issue which continues to remain is the service. I am not sure if the servers have too many tables or just need to be trained more. At every visit, we have run into a problem where the food out of the kitchen is not what is described on the menu. Our first visit, my husband ordered the double cut pork chops. He was served a single pork chop. When he asked the server, he said he forgot to tell my husband that the supplier had sent the wrong cut of pork chop. On the next visit, my husband ordered the pappardelle that the menu says has fried oysters on it. That is specifically what made him order that dish. When the dish came and he asked, the server (a different one) didn’t even know the menu said fried oysters on it. She found out they had not gotten the proper shipment so they took the fried oysters off the dish. That same night I ordered a cocktail with watermelon in it only to be told they no longer served that since watermelon was not in season anymore. At least she told me but the menu needs to be updated to reflect this. I really appreciate that Graft is trying to serve fresh, locally sourced food and as a new restaurant they are trying to keep costs down but the menu needs to be correct and servers need to be educated about the menu and what has changed that day.

Luckily, I still have high hopes for Graft. The owner is frequently there and seems to really listen to her customers and wants to advance the restaurant. I can chalk this up to a new restaurant trying to work out the kinks especially as the food has gotten better with each visit. I kind of see this restaurant as the “Little Engine that Could”. They have a great base plan and just need to build on it. Work out the issues with the servers and the menus. Continue to source good food and keep taking risks with the food. One of the things that most excites us about Graft is the owner’s desire to update the food and try new things. We don’t like to go to restaurants that have the same thing as everyone else on their menu. We want different, out of the norm food with unexpected flavor profiles that keep you coming back for more. I think Graft will be able to do that as well as have options for people who may not be as adventurous.

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