Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Restaurant Review: Grezzo - Raw Food in Newburyport!




Hello Positive Eaters,

The circulating buzz around a raw food restaurant in Newburyport was just too much to take. On just their third day of operation, I found myself sitting at the "bar" at their State Street location in the charming port city that acts as a second home to me.

Many people do not know what to expect when entering a raw food restaurant. I fortunately have visited several of these establishments over the the past couple years and I took immediate notice of the distinct aroma. These type of restaurants seem to manufacture their own atmosphere. More than just a distinct scent, a feeling of freshness and life just kind of hangs in the air. The walls of Grezzo are adorned with beautiful murals of painted vegetables and this merges with a distinct, sophisticated ambiance. Do not expect birkenstocks, dreadlocks and Ani Difranco blaring through the sound system, these people are here to serve you fantastic food and an amazing dining experience.

The place was empty when I walked in and I noticed many people wanted to come in and "just look at the menu." The idea of raw food is very new to New England and Grezzo does a great job of taking off the counterculture edge that can accompany the words "vegan" and "raw." The staff wear typical waitstaff attire and are extremely friendly. Within fifteen minutes the place started to fill up and a waitress named Molly was carefully explaining the wide array of local organic produce they use in their food as well as introducing them to the uniques superfoods they would experience in their different lunch choices.

I started off with a Raspberry Kombucha Spritzer. This is made like a mixed drink, except kombucha (a fermented tea product) is used rather than alcohol. Grezzo featured many organic wines and alcohol choices. Being a temperant man, I did not try any of these options. My Baby Arugula Salad was everything you would expect from a raw food place, teeming with life and amazing ingredients. A citrus based dressing drizzled locally grown Arugula and the salad featured, pickled asparagus, grapefruit, whole almonds, goji and incan berries as well as a nut based cheese. This salad could serve as an entire meal for some people.

My main entree was the Seaweed and Wild Mushroom Bistro Burger. This looked nothing like a burger but featured such incredible flavor and texture, I did not notice. This was served with dehydrated sweet potato chips. I definitely still steer towards baked chips with olive oil and sea salt...but they added an autumn color to the plate.

The woman behind the bar, Brenda, suggested a fantastic smoothie called a Goji Julius which was served thick and was almost like an entire dessert itself. The waitress Molly refused to let me leave without trying one of their chocolate cookies. This "dessert" featured raw cacao, blue green algae and peppermint oil. A must try for all those who visit Grezzo.

Before leaving, I met the owner Alissa Cohen. Alissa is an established restaurant operator and "living foods" expert. I gave her my best wishes on her new venture. I will definitely return to Grezzo and spread the word about its incredible offerings. The North Shore may finally possess its go to spot for fantastic healthy dining.

Stay Positive,

Matthew

visit their website:

http://grezzorestaurant.com/newburyport/

3 comments:

foodietoots34 said...

I have had the opposite experience at Grezzo in Newburyport. I can understand the local produce thing but I am sure they are not getting local arrugula this time of year as well as any other produce item. I found my meal to be bland and overpriced. The service slow and not knowledgeable. For an empty restaurant I would have thought the server would have been more attentive. The owner was there walking around with a holier than thou attitude. Even heard the owner yelling at her staff in the kitchen. I would not attempt the vegan thing in Newburyport.

Heather said...

Actually I wouldn't be surprised if they get their arugula from the same place I do - Arrowhead Farm right in Newburyport, MA. We picked up the last share of our CSA there a week or so ago and yes, there was arugula. Beautiful, local, unsprayed arugula - in early NOVEMBER. Still learning to like it. Never underestimate local abundance! Until I became a member of their CSA, I never realized how many different kinds of produce grew right here in the North Shore! P.S. vegan is a world apart from raw vegan.

Heather said...

I meant to add this link! I guarantee you will be surprised at how many small family farms are around you. Do a zip code search here to learn more. Cut food miles and yank your dollars away from the cruel practices of factory farming!

http://www.localharvest.org/