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Feb 9, 2012 07:14 AM

Gusto 101

My friend and I went for dinner last night. The restaurant looks quite industrial chic, and for its day 6 of opening, it was actually quite busy! They don't take reservations so going early definitely has its perks! The front of the restaurant has bar seats for those who have to wait or simply want to try their wine list.

The waitresses were friendly but were still working out the kinks in terms of delivering food (we were sitting by the "pass" and the waitresses kept trying to take the food that was missing some side to it (reminds of watching Hell's Kitchen). We also witnessed 2 different waitresses having difficulty opening a bottle of wine at the diners' tables - quite embarrassing!)

As for the food, there are quite a bunch of insalates, antipasti, pasta and pizza options on the menu. They try to sell their "tuscan wood oven" dishes as one of the best.

Between the two of us, we ordered an eggplant bruschetta, an octopus antipasti, a salmon salad and the prime rib burger. While the food was decent, we both agreed that nothing really stood out. The eggplant bruschetta was a bit bland while the burger was a bit too salty. The texture of the octopus antipasti wasn't what we expected (tasted more soggy than chewy). However, presentation of the dishes did look nice!

Another disappointment was that since we were non-alcoholic drinkers, we asked if the bartender was able to come up with a "mocktail" (we've always been surprised at the concoctions the bartenders at other restaurants can come up with) and we told by the bartender that since their cocktails were all alcohol-influenced, they could only offer us different kind of juices or limonata (I'm sure any bartender with some sort of creativity could make up something with what they had!!).

While I like the vibe of the restaurant, I was less impressed by the food, but considering it's only been open for a week, I may give it another try in the future.

Has anyone else tried Gusto 101 yet? I'm curious to find out what others have to say about this new restaurant.

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  1. I happened by this place tonight. My partner and I went in for dinner. It's a southern italian style restaurant with some innovative flourishes (see the lasagne below). They are open every day for lunch and dinner (I think they are closed for lunch on either Saturday or Sunday).

    First impression: Very stylish but the prices are very reasonable. Kitchen has a big visible combi oven and looks extremely well-supplied and professional.

    Food: We ordered the daily special (Pumpkin lasagne), the grilled octopus starter, and the oxtail rigatoni. I was impressed with all three. Most of all the octopus, it was perfectly cooked. The lasagne next was superb, nicely spiced and the pumpkin was a soft background note. I'm not a fan of oxtail but the dish tasted great and the tomato sauce was superior.

    Also, they offer filtered water and I don't believe I was charged for it. They have a lit wall of bread, though the bread wasn't very fresh. It was Sunday night, perhaps this affected the freshness.

    I didn't try any drinks. They have some amari and grappa, they have a few cocktails but they didn't look interesting to me (overly on the sweet side) though I was tempted to order a manhattan since they have good vermouth behind the bar. They also have a good wine list.

    This place is a bit less expensive than Woodlot but of a similar quality; I'll have to try more dishes to decide. It's certainly better than Canteen.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mgualt

      Bumping this up.....anyone else give it a try??

      1. re: millygirl

        I've been for lunch twice (great burger with spicy fries and homemade ketchup, grilled salmon salad - delicious, but huge portion that you could easily share) and dinner twice (seafood grilled kabob, pizza, homemade ricotta - all great). Nice service, always very busy, good price points....looking forward to their patios (one in front and one on the roof) opening.

    2. Went for dinner a weeks back (st patty's weekend). The place was rammed and after about 15 minutes i was seated at one end of a communal table. Didn't really mind the wait as the room was gorgeous.
      I started off with a glass of the house white (@ $1/oz how could I not). First course was the orange spiced octopus. The dish while different and tasty. It was a little uneven on the ends and went from really well cooked to burnt at the ends of the tentacles.
      The wine on the other hand was delicious. When paired with the octopus, it was a few of the best bites i've had in a while.
      For the main I had the Chicken salad. i know, i know, a very unspired choice, but I usually want to have 1 'safe' dish when trying a new place if the novelty dish fails on me.
      In this case, the chicken salad was quite interesting. Right off the top, the mushroom, tomato and goat cheese combo gave that warm comfortable feelng (small chance it was the third glass of wine :p )
      I skipped dessert and the bill came to $40 before tax. Thats for an appetizer, a main and about 12oz of wine. Not cheap, but i felt a great deal more satisfied after that meal than I do when leaving other places in the city having spent similar amounts.

      1. i had a small seafood oriented meal here and i would stay far away from seafood here again. other friends have raved about it but they went with what i would consider safe classics... mushroom pasta with loads of truffle oil, etc. where you have to perform pretty badly to make it not tasty.

        the octopus we had was this almost mushy texture, like it was fake tender. the flavours on the plate were great otherwise. then there was a seafood oriented pasta which i can't remember why i was so keen on.... the pasta itself was quite nice if it didn't taste as if it were soaked in salt water. mushrooms in it (why there were mushrooms, i have no idea, certainly not in the description) tasted like campbell's cream of mushroom soup. the other seafood itself was fine but it just didn't come together.

        our kale salad was the best thing, but it's certainly not a complicated dish. i'd like to go again to try pizzas and perhaps something with some blood in it but i'm not rushing to go back after their uppity attitude at the host stand. servers have been lovely.

        1. Was there about 2 weeks ago. I have to say that I have mixed feelings about my experience there. My dining companion and I ordered several dishes that we shared. We started arancini and the bruschette with ricotta. We then shared the Insalata di Salmone, and finally ended with the spinach and ricotta ravioli.

          I was really disappointed by the bruschette, mostly because the menu said that it would be served on homemade foccaccia, yet it wasn't homemade and the bread served was not focaccia at all. What was supposed to be focaccia was really just grilled bread that was brushed with olive oil. I have no problem with that, but if that's the case please don't say on your menu that your bruschette consists of homemade focaccia bread. The arancini was good, but nothing I would order again.

          Now for the salad. I must say that this dish was OUTSTANDING!! The salmon was grilled to perfection. In fact it was probably the most moist piece of salmon I have ever had in a restaurant. On top of it was a dollop of avocado salsa verde, which was out of this world, and added an incredible tasty layer to an already wonderfully flavoured piece of fish. What I also loved about this salad with the addition of quinoa to it. I found this to be such a clever way to use quinoa, and it really really worked.

          Lastly, came the ravioli, which was covered in a beautiful tangy tomato sauce. It wasn't a particularly huge portion, but given the amount of food we had already consumed, it was just right.

          The service was attentive but unobtrusive. The servers were extremely friendly and eager to please. So overall, it seems to me that your experience at this restaurant, will depend largely on what you order.

          1. We were a party of 4 and visited this place on Sunday. I have listed the things we liked and did not like about Gusto 101
            the ambiance- great vibe, its not too loud as well so you can enjoy your conversation
            beef tartare appetizer- this was really flavorful
            black ink pasta with cuttle fish (My order and I really enjoyed this dish)
            braised lamb pasta ( My husbands order-this was pretty good not extraordinary but definately good)
            half litre wine options:) (we were four of us so we ordered a bottle, but its good to know for when my husband and I go out)
            reasonable prices ( we ordered 3 appies, 4 mains, 1 dessert platter, bottle of chianti, and a cafe latter- the bill was $180 (excluding tip))
            dessert platter (not the most amazing dessert but definately tasty)
            our waitress was very pleasant

            the pizza was average (my friends order)
            Brick chicken boring (but I wasnt expecting much- my friend ordered it)
            carpaccio was very average
            calamari was just ok

            Overall, I would go back as I did enjoy my meal there. It was good value for money and a fun night out