The green, local ingredients, fresh foods organic movement has had a welcome effect on some neighborhood carryouts—they are now carrying salads that are tasty, inventive and often good for you too.
And panini, which is the current fashionable name for grilled sandwiches. And vegetarian pizzas!
And the best of them, like Italian Graffiti in Fells Point, offer all the old mainstays too, like big pizzas and subs and calzones and sodas in quart containers.
So we decided to try Italian Graffiti’s delivery service and ordered a big lunch for the whole office. We used a credit card.
The delivery arrived on time. The pizza was hot. The deliveryman asked for a signature, which doesn’t always happen with deliveries from carryouts, and we appreciate all efforts to discourage fraud.
The good start to our lunch continued with the Graffiti Salad ($7.95), which was field greens, tomatoes, peppers, tuna salad and brown rice tossed with a nice sharp balsamic vinegar. The greens were crisp, not soggy, the rice was cooked perfectly, and the tuna salad was spiked with a little Old Bay. Yum.
We also ordered the Caesar Favorite Salad ($7.75), which is a great Caesar salad topped with roasted peppers, artichoke hearts and fresh mozzarella. The mozz was indeed fresh and soft, and the roasted peppers and artichoke hearts offered a nice counterpoint to the good, garlicky dressing.
When summer brings good tomatoes, we’re ordering the Caprese salad ($6.95), which is fresh mozz, fresh basil and tomatoes over more of those field greens.
We also ordered one of their Neapolitan thin crust pizzas with pepperoni and mushrooms ($14.85 for a 16-incher), just to test their standard pizza cred, and a Pizza Margherita ($14.95 for a 16-inch), which is more of that fresh mozz and fresh basil with tomato sauce.
Both of them were delicious. The thin crust comes out nice and crisp, and the rim of dough around the edge, which is thicker, is nice and chewy. A bite of the Margherita pizza produces a 12-inch tendril of mozzarella stretching from the slice—the mark of good mozzarella.
We are also intrigued by the Pizza Con Spinach ($13.95), which is a white pizza with blue cheese and, of course, spinach. Next time.
The boss ordered a veggie calzone ($6.95) to take home, and reported that it reheated in the oven very nicely. It’s chopped broccoli, green peppers and mushrooms with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses wrapped in that crisp pizza dough.
Things we didn’t try—the panini (the grilled chicken Fiorentina looks promising); the wraps, and the pasta. The lasagna Primavera ($9) and the fettucine Alfredo ($9.40) look intriguing. If they are as fresh as the other offerings at Italian Graffiti, we’re going to get some of those next time too.
Desserts are cheesecake, cannoli or tiramisu; the appetizers include Arancini, which is rice, mixed with ground beef and peas, then breaded and fried; and bruschetta, toasted bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil; and potato croquettes filled with ham, mozz and Parmesan. The carryout also offers the standard barfly fare of buffalo wingts, mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders.
You have seen Italian Graffiti’s delivery car around the neighborhood, we’re sure—it’s the car with the graffiti sprayed in the colors of the Italian flag.
Italian Graffiti, 1635 Fleet Street, is open Mondays-Thursdays 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Phone 410-534-5454 for delivery; check www.italiangraffiti.net for the menu.
by Jacqueline Watts