Is There an ETA for Gustazo in Belmont?
I'm really looking forward to trying Gustazo, the Cuban restaurant that's going to open in Belmont. I saw a recent article that said there was a lot of structural work that needed to be done to the space and they were hoping for a mid-August opening. If you have more information about when they're likely to open, please share!
They opened yesterday! Opening time is 11 a.m. The menu is in the window but I was scanning quickly for picky-toddler-compatible food, so I can't tell you much about it. I did notice a sandwich section, which combined with the opening time makes it seem like it will be a casual place. We'll try it this weekend and will report back.
The restaurant is on the corner of School Street and Belmont Street.
Got take out last night. My observations:
- They still have some operations work to do (e.g., no take-out menus yet, AmEx swipe wasn't working), but were appropriately apologetic that they didn't have it all nailed down yet and aiming to please.
- Ultimately, the order worked out fine - my ropa vieja was ready in 15 minutes, just like they said it would be.
- The Ropa Vieja itself was good, but only 2 maduros (one of the sides, along with rice and Cuban-style black beans) was disappointing, especially for $16.95.
- Overall, the menu was more formal and more expensive than I expected. Sure, there were about 5 or 6 hot apps (e.g., camarones al ajillo, masitas de puerco (sorry for bad Spanish)) and 5 or 6 cold apps, and maybe 4 sandwiches (including a Cuban and some other pork sandwich in the $10-12 range, but the entrees were all in the $16-19 range for some kind of meat with rice, beans and plantains. All good stuff, I just expected / hoped it would be less. That's Belmont, I guess.
- The space itself is very small, cozy and more upscale than I expected - seems like a nice place to eat-in!
- Oh - in case it wasn't clear, they are in fact open for dinner (there had been an earlier suggestion of lunch-only)
All-in-all, glad to have them opened and looking forward to trying more from the menu.
Went there for lunch with hubby at 1pm. The place was half full and a lot of foot traffic looking at the menu on the window.
-The Cubano: Nice and meaty. The bread was more panini like with a great crsip exterior. Wish there was more bread to the sandwich. It was almost like biting into a crisp shell, then hitting the meat. When biting into this sandwich, I would have liked the crunch of the bread, a slight pillowy softness of the bread, then sinking my teeth into the meat. That said, the meats were very tasty. My hubby liked the composition of the sandwich in terms of meat to pickle ratio. But the sandwich was pricey at $12.95. Came with plantain chips, which were okay.
-The Pan Con Lechon: I could not deny the lovely porkiness of the meat. The caramelized onions did not have as strong a presence as I thought, but created a nice foil to the salty meat. Same problem with the bread as in the Cubano. I liked this a little better than the Cubano. Slightly cheaper at $11.95 and with a very small side salad containing avocado and chopped pineapple. The waiter forgot my salad, but my hubby asked and he apologized profusely before bringing it out within 5 minutes. The salad was okay. Nice, refreshing. The pineapple was there, but had no presence in the salad except to give it a little sweetness. And the teaspoon of avocado was nice , but gone in 1 bite. Plantain chips also present. See previous comment.
-Lemonade: Nice and tart and there was some lime juice in it besides the lemon. Waiter brought over sugar, just in case we thought it wasn't sweet enough. But both hubby and I dislike the sickly sweet lemonades, so it was fine by us.
-Flan: Nice rendition of flan, but we thought it could use a little bit more caramel infused into the flan. Very dense and definitely made with cream not condensed milk or milk. Not too sweet, so it was a great dessert. Small for $5.95. Waiter was very nice and went through the trouble of packing it for us, as we had to rush out.
Overall, the ambiance is really nice with a warm, inviting feeling, but the plates are pricey and definitely not an everyday place. Definitely still working out the kinks (the only soda available was Coke), but hope they work it out for the weekend. Would love to go back and try the small plates.