First bite: University Place scores a win with Grassi's Ristorante

Staff writerJune 6, 2014 


Ken Grassi, right, displays a dish of rigatoni bolognese at the new Grassi's Ristorante in University Place. Ken's wife, Kim, is at left, and daughter Melanie is in the middle. On the counter is a dish of chicken marsala.

LUI KIT WONG — Staff photographer Buy Photo

Three forkfuls into a plate of bone-in short ribs set atop rigatoni pasta with house-smoked mushrooms, and I was ready to declare the dish one of the best I’ve ordered in 2014.

In fact, it was second only to the supple prime rib at the newly opened Smoke + Cedar.

Like Smoke + Cedar, Grassi’s Ristorante in University Place has a chef who produces terrific results using the slow-and-low cooking technique for beef. But more on that in a moment.

The Italian eatery that opened April 1 is a solid addition to a city short on independently owned restaurants. Besides Chambers Bay Grill at the golf course, Grassi’s is the sole semi-upscale dining venue in University Place — which probably sounds as odd to you as it does to me considering it’s a city with top-dollar-view homes. I have no clear answer for the dearth of restaurants (fine dining or otherwise, actually), but what I do know is that University Place residents support high-quality food – by shopping for it. The city is home to a Trader Joe’s, a Harbor Greens and soon will have a Whole Foods Market.

A packed parking lot on three visits indicated the locals already have discovered Grassi’s, which is why reservations are a good idea.


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