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Robin Garr

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:38 pm


Crescent Hill

Grassa Gramma is the next best thing to dinner in Italy

by Robin Garr » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:24 am

Grassa Gramma is the next best thing to dinner in Italy

LEO's Eats with Robin Garr

Cacio a Pepe, a classic Roman dish made at Grassa Gramma with fresh, house-made bucatini.

I think Grassa Gramma is more than ready for prime time. Every single thing I’ve had to eat there in two visits (so far) has been really good, and the service was fine in that not-quite obsequious hovering style that’s been a hallmark of fine Italian dining in Louisville since Casa Grisanti went upscale in the 1970s.

But, even two months after Grassa Gramma opened its oversize front doors in Holiday Manor and with crowds trooping in, owner Kevin Grangier and General Manager Tarek Hamada are still striving for perfection. “We’re still in ‘soft opening’,” Hamada told me late last month. “It’s hard to get skilled servers in this market. We’re still adjusting our menu. We’re not going to have our grand opening until everything is right.”

Grangier, meanwhile, in a signed card left discreetly on every table, asks for diners’ “patience and tolerance … for any glitches that might occur” during this soft launch period.

Many restaurants run a brief soft opening for a week or two before they open to the public. But this is the first restaurant I’ve known that stayed in soft opening for two months.

More power to Grangier and team, who also give us Village Anchor and Le Moo. Clearly perfection is their goal. But honestly I’m more confident than they seem to be. Go, now. They’re ready. Sure, if you run into a, um, glitch, let management know. But I really think you’re going to love it.

They’ve done a spectacular job of gutting and remaking the old Emperor of China into Grassa Gramma (“Fat Grandma”), a charming replica of a plaza in an Italian village. Grainger spent months and a lot of money in Europe buying antiques and decor pieces, from Sicilian stoneware to the huge wooden doors (an import from Egypt) that now form the restaurant’s main entrance.

Chef Robert Rice’s menu tops out at an eye-popping $68 (for la bistecca alla Fiorentina, a 2-pound prime dry-aged Porterhouse that’s big enough for two, or maybe four). But the pasta menu is more affordable, with eight plates from $16 (for tomato-sauced spaghetti pomodoro) to $33 (for frutti di mare, bucatini pasta with shrimp, scallops and mussels). Better still, come for a pizza and make your dinner with a wood-fired 12-inch pie priced from $15 to $17. ...

Read the full review on LouisvilleHotBytes,

You'll also find this review in LEO Weekly's Food & Drink section today.

Grassa Gramma
2210 Holiday Manor Center

Robin Garr's rating: 90 points

Noise level: Don’t expect a quiet environment in this crowded, stone-walled environment, but it’s not ear-shattering; our group was generally able to converse even in a crowded room. (Average sound level was a little over 79dB, on the border between a moving car and loud singing, with peaks just under 90dB, segueing from the sound of loud singing to a motorcycle engine.)

Accessibility: Only the bar and one dining room near the entrance are accessible to wheelchair users. The main room is down steps, possibly accessible only by requesting private access through a back way. The beautiful but massive entry doors will probably require assistance to open.
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Christina Firriolo

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Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:39 pm

Re: Grassa Gramma is the next best thing to dinner in Italy

by Christina Firriolo » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:19 pm

Great review! I can't wait to try it!
Well, I *can* wait, and have been waiting until they get past this soft opening thing! :)
"Wine is sunlight, held together by water!" ~Galileo Gallilei

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