Hanna Raskin ventures to University Village to determine whether her review of Grace Kitchen will bear the headline "Amazing Grace" or "Unamazing Grace." Turns out it's the latter, thanks to "discombobulated service and edible miscues," along with quite a cocktail fuck-up. The upscale comfort food menu was designed by Jerry Traunfeld, but the execution inspires Raskin to declare the restaurant "the edible equivalent of a store clearance rack: It's disorderly, and dominated by ho-hum fare. But it's still worth checking out" should you be at the mall in search of post-jeggings sustenance:
If there's a consistent flaw in Grace Kitchen's cooking, it's the overly exuberant use of fresh herbs. Freshness is a quality to salute at a mall restaurant, but herbs are applied here with a triumphant window gardener's enthusiasm. The only flavor in a bowl of tomato soup is basil, and parsley jostles with crushed red pepper for the honor of overwhelming an otherwise pleasant dish of linguine with clams.
Things Raskin did like: mini-tarts filled with goat cheese "may smack of a second-semester culinary-school project, but it still makes for a likably goopy starter." The burger's solid and the fries are too...when served warm. "A glance at the red-neon Johnny Rockets sign visible through the restaurant's side windows provides confirmation that a meal could be worse."