Could you guess last week’s establishment? It was the Grafton Winery and Brewhaus, 300 W. Main St. in Grafton, of course! If you go, check out the gift shop for every wine-related gift a person can imagine!
• • •
In a sprawling business complex, my regular dining companion and I found a beautiful Italian eatery: a jewel tucked away in plain sight. We walked thought the large black doors to see two sets of dark wood that might have been shutters salvaged from a building from 100 years ago to our left and right. We entered a large, square room with tall windows and many square wooden tables, all set with four chairs. To our right was an enormous mirror, framed in wide dark wood. To our left was a smaller room that could be closed off with wooden pocket doors. On a very large chalkboard in the smaller room the menu was written in Italian. Directly in front of us, the kitchen was separated from the dining area by three tall arched double-hung windows framed in dark wood. I could see flames from a pizza oven and three cooks working in the kitchen. Between these windows and the big mirror was a wine rack, which I estimate could hold 100 bottles. A chalkboard beside it listed 25 or 30 wine suggestions. The floor was polished concrete. All this dark wood had a strangely calming effect on my restless soul.
Our server seemed delighted to wait on us. She directed us to sit anywhere we chose, and although I did not see her do it, a carafe of water, glasses, large white linen napkins, knives and forks, tiny salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of olive oil with a pour spout magically appeared. She brought us menus and asked for our drink orders, and we both requested lemonade. When she brought our glasses of very good lemonade, she asked if we had any questions about the menu items and suggested specials of the day.
My friend ordered the half-salad, half-pasta special, a Del Pietro salad and cannelloni for $10. I requested lasagna for $11. Our lemonades were $1.75 each. Did I mention the lemonade was really good? First, our server brought a small loaf of crusty bread, which we dipped in the olive oil. I had never eaten bread with olive oil before and was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked it. My companion’s salad came out with a multitude of greens, already dressed and with curls of Parmesan on top, and our server ground fresh pepper onto it. My friend loved it. The two cannelloni were covered with a white sauce (not Alfredo sauce) and stuffed with meat, cheese and green spices. My full order of lasagna was about 4 inches high and 6 inches square, deliciously layered with noodles, meat, cheese and sauce. It also had curls of Parmesan on top. I have had lasagna before that was swimming in sauce. This was not. I was almost sorry, because I would have had an excuse for eating that last slice of bread, but I ate more than my share as it was.
When we each used the restrooms, we were not disappointed. Cleverly arranged to make the most of the available space, they were both wheelchair-accessible and spotless. I have no higher praise for a restroom than “spotless.”
We had a marvelous dining experience there. This would be a lovely place for a date or a reconciliation dinner, or for a group outing. The service and food were great. We could not have been treated better if we had been celebrities. We paid from the table and left satisfied and happy. I also learned a few words to add to my sparse Italian vocabulary.
Overall - five stars
Cleanliness - five stars
Service - five stars
Food - five stars
Any guesses on where to find this slice of Italy? See if you are right in the next edition of AdVantage News!
Do you have a restaurant in mind you would like to see reviewed by the Secret Diner? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; include "Secret Diner" in the message.