DRACUT – Beautiful Italian food in a truly breath-taking setting, everything about Grazie Wood-Fired Grille in Dracut was designed to impress.
Tina Niarhos, along with her husband and her partners, has created an unexpected experience at the Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, overlooking a beautifully maintained golf course with spectacular views, outdoor fire pits, and one heck of a restaurant that’s open to the public year round.
“As you drive up you’re going to see beautiful greens. You’re going to see a beautiful building,” Tina described. “People are really pleasantly surprised to be able to come up and see such a beautiful, modern building.”
“You have a beautiful, open kitchen where you have our oven that we get from Naples: 6,000 pound oven. You get a barbecue grill that’s 100 percent wood-burning. Then you have this really terrific space where families can sit at the bar and watch as Beni creates all his Italian creations, as the pizza guys and the chefs there are preparing unbelievable Neapolitan pizza,” said Tina.
We’ll get back to the pizza oven and that incredible grill in a bit, but first, let’s dive into some food. Grazie’s head chef Beni hails from Northern Italy, so his menu features hand-made pastas, top quality steaks, and some truly mouth-watering seafood.
Popular starters include an impressive tower of eggplant rollatini stuffed with ricotta and ham, and fresh-sliced tuna with garlic and orange zest served over a chilled Himalayan salt brick.
The pasta course can bring masterpieces like thick-cut pappardelle swirled inside a rich wild boar Bolognese, or pillowy lobster ravioli and mussels swimming in something called Admiral sauce.
“The Admiral sauce is a white sauce that they start off with a little garlic sautéed in olive oil. And then they add a little bit of butter, some beautiful white wine. And then from there they add some light cream. Then they add the lobster raviolis. It’s to die for,” Tina said.
“I always tell my customers, ‘Make sure you have a spoon because you’re not going to want to leave the Admiral sauce behind.’ Nobody wants to leave the plate behind and rarely does it come back with anything left on the bottom.”
Pizzas here a cooked in the true Neapolitan tradition: with double-zero flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. But the key is that enormous imported Italian oven, which can fire up a pie, pronto.
“Once the pizza is prepared, it should cook it in about 90 seconds,” Tina said. “It’s light. It’s airy. It’s a little bit crispy. It’s normal charring on the outside. Getting people used to having a little bit of charring – letting them know that’s normal for the pizza and that it adds a little bit of flavor, has been a little bit of a challenge. But I’ll tell you, once people get it, they love it.”
Grazie’s entrees are universally oversized. There’s slow-cooked lamb shank with maple bacon lentils, and a Bone-In Veal Chop Milanese so big that it extends past the plate, served with a side of ricotta gnocchi. But some of the biggest and best dishes are prepared on a unique wood-fired Argentinian Grill.
It’s the ideal piece of equipment to cook Porterhouse steak, made even better by its eye-popping presentation.
“Once it’s been cooked, he takes it in the back and he slices it into a fan, with the bones sticking out so as it comes out onto the plate it’s this massive plate with this massive piece of beef on it,” described Tina. “Then everybody’s going, ‘Wow. What’s that?’ and it’s succulent; it’s chewy; it’s beautiful, and people love it.”
You’ll love the dessert course even more. There’s creamy homemade tiramisu and chocolate lava cake with coconut infused ice cream. Then there’s the ultimate Italian-American mash-up: golden, deep fried Oreo-stuffed Zeppole!
“So if you’ve heard of a deep fried Oreo, this is even better,” Tina declared. “This is a zeppole from Italy that has the beautiful flavor of that double zero flour, now using the Oreo cookie as well. It’s fun.”
Of course, Grazie means “thank you” in Italian. And the customers are thankful for every bite.
“The restaurant has really become a destination place for people to come. This is not a place where you’re going just in the nice weather. We’re here every single day and we want you to know we’re here 7 days a week, and that we thank you for coming, because we’re truly humbled by the amount of people that come over here.”
You can find Grazie at the Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut. You can find out more about it online at fouroakscountryclub.com.
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