Raw Deal

1197496095“Did you hear there’s a raw food restaurant coming to the North End? Ugh.”

So shuddered my friend, the food snob. She was talking about a new venture called Grezzo (that’s Italian for “raw”), from local guru Alissa Cohen. It’s set to open in January, which in restaurant speak, means you should probably set your calendars to early March.

And yes, I had heard, but unlike my friend, I rather like the idea.

First of all, I’m not ashamed to admit that I made occasional trips to Cafe Gratitude when I lived in San Francisco. And when I ordered my favorite sampler platter, I even did so according to the prescribed script. It went like this:

Me: I’ll have the ‘I am bountiful’ appetizer (Note: It’s an array of “live” crackers and flatbreads with cashew “cheese”, tapenade, hummus, and tomato. Don’t ask me how they make “live” flatbread. I have no idea.)

Server: You are bountiful.

Me: Um, yes.

Sometimes when I was feeling really brave or Californian, I’d just say, “I am bountiful.” And with a straight face. The servers really like that.

So I’ve eaten raw food. And enjoyed it. It has a tonic quality, a real scrubbing-out-the-insides feel. And after a few too many fancy restaurant dinners, it was something I craved.

Secondly, I welcome any wacky new entrants on the Boston dining scene. Because the last thing we need is another variation on “upscale” comfort food. So if someone wants to open a raw food restaurant or a pie bakery or a Vietnamese taco shop for that matter, I’ll be the first in line.

What I don’t understand is the location. Why the North End? I’ve lived there, and much as I love it, it’s not exactly a raw food crowd magnet. Why not Allston or Cambridge or Davis Square?

I think Boston has enough committed or curious raw fooders to support Grezza…but they might not be willing to fight the crowds on Hanover Street to do it.