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Jan 19, 2012 07:19 AM


Has anyone been yet? I've seen a few reviews on Yelp and their lot seems full when I drive by in the evenings.

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  1. I went yesterday, and sat at the bar. Ordered the meatballs as an appetizer, they were tasty enough. Had the grilled flatiron as the main course, which was cooked as ordered and tasty. The sprouts were too undercooked for my personal liking, and chef swung by to say he'd cook them through in the future. All of the staff but two (I was told) are from the previous restaurant, so service was good. The owner (not the previous owner) was on point in the restaurant and the kitchen, taking an active role in the delivery of food and table setup. All in all, pretty good. I'll swing back by in a week or three and check out some of the pasta dishes.

    1. I went on Friday, after work to meet a friend. I was there by 5:30 and was able to find a parking spot easily. I ordered the olives and the calamari. The olives were great; not too salty, more fruity. I like them that way. The calamari was very tangy. It had thin friend onion rings and very thin slices of lemon that were fried as well. The dipping sauce was lemon based. I prefer my calamari more spicy, but this wasn't too bad. It was a bit greasy toward the bottom of the basket.

      There was an older crowd from the neighborhood (early 40s - late 50's I'd say) and a few families. Same staff as the other place. the decor is similar as well except for the new stencil, spray paint art on the walls. I believe they were playing records - a la Justine's.

      This place is good for a weekend that you don't feel like making the scene or searching for a parking spot downtown. Seems consistent with options and prices. Won't knock your socks off but a good place in the hood to hang out.

      1. Where is this restaurant and what was the previous restaurant if I may ask?

        11 Replies
        1. re: danny_w

          La Sombra was the previous restaurant. Same owners, new concept. Was Brazilian (South American), now italian bistro.

          1. re: chispa_c

            The Chef, however, is from Peru, which is intriguing.

            1. re: TAF

              Is it the people from the Sampaio days? That restaurant did a good job of acting like a Brazilian restaurant, but not actually serving Brazilian food.

              1. re: rudeboy

                It's the same guy/group that owns Santa Rita, 34th Street Cafe and I think Blue Star too.

                1. re: rudeboy

                  I was not familiar enough with Sampaio to determine whether any of the staff are currently involved with Gusto, however I did have a Pasta Carbonara there which did not seem very traditional to me. Seemed not to have much cream, nor parmesan, but would have been tasty enough were it not heavily oversalted.

                  1. re: TAF

                    There are volumes of arguments on home cooking regarding what makes a true carbonara. Some people say that the addition of peas is blasphemous. What is the meat product in Gusto's version? Lardons? Is the pasta dried/boiled, or fresh?

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      Traditionaly carbonara doesn't have cream. I believe they use bacon and pecorino.

                      1. re: rhubarb

                        I would think that traditionally they would use pancetta.

                    2. re: TAF

                      there is absolutely no cream in the carbonara, lardons of applewood smoked bacon was used at first but it has been changed to a more traditional pancetta.

                      1. re: ac3jc

                        Sounds good - I'll have to try it. I love carbonara. Not sure why many restaurants don't use guanciale and bucatini pasta. Good farm fresh eggs can really make the dish.

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          we use farm fresh eggs for the carbonara, guanciale is more expensive and not as traditional as pancetta and bucatini is a hard pasta to get believe it or not, also not traditional but still good.

            2. Had the polenta fries and meatball appetizers; both very good. bf had the pork shank with polenta and kale. The flavor was excellent, it was fork tender.

              1. Yesterday I had the mushroom pizza, which was quite good - tasty, fairly thin, airy crust, easily large enough for one person. Also tried the pappardelle bolognaise - the sauce was excellent. No salt issues this time around.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TAF

                  Went last night with a party that included a person that is disabled. They were very accommodating and the food was very good. Like TAF, I had the pappardelle bolognaise. I enjoyed it. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the sauce was excellent. My only complaint is the size of the print on the menu. With the low lighting in the restaurant and the small print, everyone at the table had some difficulty.