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Gran Gusto - good food, bad service

I’ve been curious about Gran Gusto for some time, so a fellow hound and I went on Saturday night. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve dined in Europe and understand what relaxed service entails. But the service at Gran Gusto was horrific.

First the food…we split the beef carpaccio app, an eggplant lasagna entrée and a diavola pizza. The carpaccio was light yet flavorful, but the cheese overpowered the beef a bit. The lasagna was simple and well-executed. And the pizza was fabulous. My one criticism of the pie was that it could’ve used a touch more cheese. In general, I think the portions are a bit too small for the price. I’d go somewhere like Trattoria Toscana for better overall food but the pizza lives up to the hype – best in Boston.

About the service – here was what happened:
Took 30 mins to get bread and order
15 mins for the carpaccio
1 hour for the lasagna
1 hour for the pizza
10 mins for the check

We asked the waiter to check on the pie, no reply. Requested more bread and water, no response. I don’t think I can ever go back, solely because of the absurd service. Has anyone else on the board experienced sub-par service there? Thoughts?

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  1. Well, if the waiter putting his arm around my girlfriend shoulders when she asked a question is considered bad service (which to me it definitely is) then yes - I have experienced sub-par service.

    1. do you mean that ea. interval is in addition--as in it took another hour to get the pizza after the hour and 45 min it took to get the lasagna? b/c if so, that's absolutely wild. i was thinking of hitting them up for lunch to try that pizza but i don't think i can wait that kind of long for pizza at lunch.

      1 Reply
      1. re: autopi

        Sorry - should've been clearer in my original post. Those wait times are stacked, so the entire experience took ~3 hours. Eating a small course every hour is just not satisfying. And that's with our table trying hard to get the waiter's attention!

      2. Do they have a bar you can order food from?

        1. I'm sorry to hear that. I had great service when I was there but I went on a Wednesday and it was pretty empty. Was it crowded when you went?

          If you want to give it another try because you liked the pizza, try a weekday.

          1. I had a similar experience. The waiter was an older guy, very Cambridge-looking, who treated everything a little too casually (though the kitchen is no doubt responsible for most of the delays). We didn't have quite as long waits as you, but there couldn't have been more than 4 tables occupied at any time during our dinner. (This was on a Saturday night too, I was surprised at how dead it was. Maybe the snow earlier in the day kept people at home)

            1. I also had very poor service in my one visit, although not nearly as bad as yours. Waited at every point...to get bread, to order, to get our salad, entree, check, etc. Our waiter was dressed in a suit, whereas the rest of the servers were in casual clothes. I assumed that maybe he was filling in because they were short staffed. If he's a regular server, he needs lotsa work. The margherita pizza was absolutely out of this world, though.

              1. I too agree that the pizza there has achieved best-in-Boston status. Sadly, your experience is not dissimilar to the one my date and I had a couple weeks ago. I will never eat in the dining room again but will definitely grab a couple pies for takeout. The restaurant was fairly full and our wait times between courses were upwards of an hour. The service was really a comedy of errors as our server (younger italian gentleman) had no idea what he was doing. I was aghast watching him try to wait on just 5 tables; never in my life have I witnessed anything like it. Many of the other tables were also aggravated with the delays and apparent lack of care.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jackal

                  ...but they do takeout service for their pizza's?

                  1. re: autopi

                    Don't know but strongly suspect being boxed would ruin that pizza.

                    1. re: autopi

                      Yes, they do. according to their menu anyway. Unfortunately, the pizza will not be as good as eating in-house.

                  2. We were there Saturday and it was still pretty full (we got there around 9:00), and our service was fine. Bread came right away. They were out of the first bottle of wine we ordered and the waiter came back very quickly to tell us (and apologize). Indeed, before I could point to the alternative bottle on the menu, the sommeilier walked over with that very bottle to recommend it. Our shared appetizers (the carpaccio and the spinach flan) came right away. Our pizza (the prosciutto and arugola) came pretty soon after the appetizers had been cleared. And our muscato and ricotta pie came promptly as well. Once again, yummy food and we were happy with the service.

                    But, I think they were unexpectedly busy on Saturday (e.g., they had only one order left of the entree special, had run out of artichokes for the carpaccio so we had arugola) and that may explain, but not excuse, the service. By the time we were there, it was still full, but probably more under control.

                    1. My daughter and I ate there for the first time tonight. The dining room was empty and the service obsequious (almost uncomfortably so). But for my 8-year-old daughter, who this week is trying to be a vegetarian, they offered to make her anything she wanted and made her a wonderful and perfectly al dente bowl of spaghetti marinara.

                      1. We tried it out last Thursday, and the experience was inline with most here. The pizza was very good (ableit not best in boston IMO), the service was both erratic and slow, and the rest of the food was just OK. We'll go back now and then just for the pizza, but that's about it.

                        My comments about the service can't add much to what has already been said. We waited 45 minutes for bread, which is just as well as I would have eaten it all. The gentleman described in this thread as "older guy, very Cambridge-looking" was there. He did not seem too happy with his job; as was a nicely dressed but overbearing Italian man (who may be the owner)? There was also a more portly Itlaian fellow, who seemed to be the only one who got it. We waited entirely too long for everything (particularly at 8p on a school night), and GG is not does not have the atmosphere or wine list to make it that linger worthy.

                        The pizza was excellent. I have to agree with the comments elsewhere that it is a reasonable facsimile of the pizza you get in Italy. It was also fairly light, which we like. However Best of Boston? I think not. I won't crave this pie as I do Regina's. However since it is reasonable close to us and has parking, I'd say we'll stop by every few months.

                        The rest of the food was not remarkable. The ceasar salad was fairly generic with shredded lettuce. The grilled calamari was fine, but nothing extraordinary. My SO got the tuna, which was poor quality, overpriced and overcooked.

                        We went in with low expectations, so it was fine. However if not for the pizza, this place would be a total bust.