When G. D. Graffiti opened its doors several years ago, our family was amused by the way the restaurant carried out the 1920s gangland theme. The adult menu is still written as a contract, complete with fine print, and is billed as "an offer you can't refuse."
The waiter/bagman, dressed in '20s attire, still lets you know your gang is welcome. The children's menu is a cardboard G-man gun which, when flipped open correctly, makes a loud "bang." However, on a recent revisit we found the routine a little tired and our waiter/bagman and his spiel uninspired.
The restaurant is large, with many separate rooms for dining, but the waiting area is small and crowded. The decor differs from room to room. There is everything from large tropical-looking bamboo chairs to booths with oil cloth on the tables, and lots of greenery all over the restaurant.
The highlight of our visit was the salad bar -- or fruit and vegetable stand as it is written on the menue. It comes with dinner or can be ordered separately at $5.95. More than 30 kinds of fruits and vegetables are offered, as well as six varieties of nuts and seeds. It was a welcome sight to our family.
The large menu covers a wide range of tastes, from lobster and prime ribs to a vegetarian dinner of mushrooms, artichoke and wild rice ($7.95). Two of our teenagers tried G. D.'s prime ribs and found them cooked to the exact degree requested. There was not much left of their large (22 oz.) syndicate's cut ($12.95) when they finished. A smaller cut is available at $9.95 and a larger (28 oz.) godfather cut is available at $14.95.
We also tried the grilled shrimp and scallops ($9.45), which is served on two skewers and accompanied by half an artichoke. The seafood and vegetables (green pepper, onions, and pineapple) are marinated in a teriyaki sauce and grilled. The scallops were almost mushy, as if they had been frozen. Everything else came off well, however.
Three types of veal dishes are offered on the menu: veal parmigiana, veal vienna and veal picatta, all $8.95. We tried the last and found it to be quite different from the usual rendition. G. D. Graffiti's veal picatta featured strips of sauteed veal rather than whole cutlets and a cream and wine sauce instead of lemon. The Graffiti version also included lots of scallions. The combination of flavors worked well but didn't resemble the traditional veal picatta.
Since we were at an Italian restaurant we decided to try the lasagna ($7.95). This dish was more traditional: noodles, meat sauce and cheese. The sauce had some sip without being too spicy but there wasn't enough cheese. Most of the cheese was in the form of a thin layer of mozzarella on top.
Nothing is served with the entrees except the salad bar. The side dishes, all a la carte, include baked potato and corn on the dob, both 75 cents, fettuccini, 95 cents, mushrooms in a skillet, $1.50, and wild rice casserole and fresh artichokes, both $1.75. A small portion of lemon ice is served before the entree to clear the palate.
The children's menu for "good guys under 12" features three entrees (all $3.25): chopped beef steak, lasagna, and a child's cut of prime ribs of beef. The children's entree is accompanied by either a baked potato or corn on the dob. Salad bar, not included, is $1.50 a la carte.
The gangland theme continues with dessert. Our waiter/bagman opened a violin case to reveal a dessert menu pasted inside. Since none of us wanted more than a taste, we ordered one "sinfully delicious fudge cake" for our family of five. This was a four-by-four-inch layer of fudge cake covered with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and shipped cream, all served in a large bowl for $2.25. A seven-inch apple pie is available at $2.25 as well as homemade cheesecake and Schrafts ice cream, which can also be made into parfaits.
This little caper set our family back $63.12. If the big boss could get his mob to put some muscle on the entrees and make them as good as his fruit and vegatable stand, he'd have a first-rate organization.
Hours: Monday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Price range: $5.95 to $14.95. Atmosphere: Comfortable and friendly. Reservations: Accepted. Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa. Special facilities: Highchairs and children's menu are available. Although there are stairs, the management will be happy to help with wheelchairs.