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Gran Gusto-- it's been a while

n
newhound Sep 14, 2012 04:21 PM

On a whim, I went to Gran Gusto tonight. I hadn't been in about a year, and while I liked it a great deal back when it was a board darling, I always felt it was a bit short of the high praise it received.

The menu seems somewhat different, with more rustic Italian dishes. I had a campo salad, and though the dressing was less sweet than the menu suggested, it was very good. Sour in a good way, with very nice Gorgonzola chunks and tiny sun dried tomatoes. The bufalo mozzarella with suckling pig and lemon was mild but excellent. The pig was nicely textured, porky and fatty about the edges. A gnocchi with artichoke and sweet Italian sausage dish was wonderful-- irregular cut squares of gnocchi and perfect proportions of the other ingredients. Alongside a couple of peronis, a nice meal.

As I was leaving, all the patio tables were full and most inside tables were too. Service was enthusiastic and spirited, as well as efficient. Anybody else been of late?

  1. s
    sgh227 Apr 7, 2013 03:00 PM

    Just went last night. I have to say that this is the first time that Chowhound has let me down. It was okay, but nothing special. I thought for the money it would be much better. We had the Salumi for an app. It was good, actually the cheese was excellent and a couple of the salamis were also very good. Along with A very nice bottle of wine recommended by the waiter we were off to a good start, even though I didn't really love the bread. My wife had a pappardelle dish with filet mignon and mushrooms. The pasta was very fresh tasting, but the overall dish was kind of uninspiring. Just not a lot of flavor. I got the Zuppeta- a seafood stew. This was pretty disappointing. There was a small piece of fish, a few mussels and clams and a ton of calamari. There was very little broth and it seemed more like a tomato sauce then a seafood broth. There was no depth to it at all. The service, once we ordered was also not great. We got the feeling that we weren't really worth the waiter's time. Our bill was well over $100 , so it's not like we were not spending money. While nothing was terrible, I wasn't very impressed. I was expecting something along the lines of trattoria Toscana or la morra which are both much closer to my home and very good. The light was very harsh and bright, my wife said she felt like we were in a strip mall in New Jersey. Don't get me wrong, nothing was terrible, it was all at least pretty good and a couple of things were even quite good. And the pizza did look very good. Certainly not worth the out of the way location for me. I guess if it was in my neighborhood I would go now and then and learn what is good and not so good. But for a special occasion meal( it was our anniversary), I think there are far too many better options around. We actually headed back into town for dessert at Deux ave and that was delicious. Looking at the menu there made me wish we had stayed close to home, especially when I saw the prices weren't that much higher. I don't post much here, but wanted to add this, as this is the first time a popular Chow spot has disappointed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sgh227
      opinionatedchef Apr 7, 2013 11:00 PM

      227, the only marvelous thing we've had at GG was the eggplant parm.

      Just fyi, there are 2 very new artisanal high end Italian places in Cambr on Mass Ave bet Harv Sq and Porter Sq- that have had exc CH reviews lately- Impasto and Giulia.( Sorry to say La Morra has never impressed me , except his good arancini, so we stopped going, and we feel the same about Toscana, so you may have diff tastes from mine.) But do check the recent threads on these spots and you might be tempted to come back over this way.

      1. re: sgh227
        Bugsey34 Apr 9, 2013 01:24 PM

        Sorry to hear it, I went a couple of months ago and thought it was as good as ever, but we only got pizza and that's what we usually get. Combine the pizza with the Neapolitan waiters and it's like being in Naples.

        1. re: Bugsey34
          Chris VR May 21, 2013 03:27 PM

          My husband just started working in the Fresh Pond area and I met him here for lunch... first time there for both of us. I haven't been before but we enjoyed the arugula salad and the ceasar salad, which had a nice strong anchovy taste in the dressing.

          We shared a pizza, the Diavola, which was soggy in the middle but otherwise really excellent. Very quiet in there at lunch, only us and one other table.

      2. Bob Dobalina Jan 14, 2013 01:49 PM

        Heard from some friends that they recently went to Gran Gusto and were informed that there was a new chef with new menu items, but that the food was not good at all.

        Has anyone been back recently and experienced this?

        6 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina
          MC Slim JB Jan 14, 2013 02:03 PM

          I was there a couple of months ago, and thought it was as good as ever, which is to say, very good indeed.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            p
            Pappabuona Jan 14, 2013 02:23 PM

            I was there on Saturday night. I only had pizza and ricotta cake but it was as good as always.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              b
              bartleby Jan 14, 2013 04:15 PM

              I've been there twice in the last six weeks and it was characteristically excellent both times. There were a couple of new menu items (I very much enjoyed the cacio e pepe pasta I had on one visit) but not a dramatic overall change. I was disappointed to see that their sublime eggplant parmesan was not on the dinner menu, but it's still on the lunch menu and they happily accommodated my request for it as an appetizer at dinner.

              1. re: bartleby
                HungryMack Jan 14, 2013 05:03 PM

                They definitely have a way with eggplant. The eggplant panini I got there was good. Even though the buffalo mozz cubes never fully melted and were almost cold, which was disappointing, the eggplant itself was creamy and delicious.

                Their eggplant lasagna was even better, actually it was terrific. That sauce is delicious. Too bad its not on the menu anymore. If it doesn't come back eventually, maybe I'll make a "request" myself.

                 
              2. re: Bob Dobalina
                Bob Dobalina Jan 14, 2013 05:52 PM

                Thank you everyone. Very glad to hear the report was inaccurate.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                  Bugsey34 Jan 15, 2013 11:53 AM

                  I was there about 2 weeks ago and the pizza was as good as ever. A couple service issues but all in all the food is still among the best authentic Italian in Boston.

                2. opinionatedchef Sep 14, 2012 04:22 PM

                  this is so great, newhound! that gnocchi has my name on it; i LOVES gnocchi, esp the rarer cloud- like ones!)

                  If you do a 'gran gusto' 'search' (box in upper right page corner)you'll get some current threads that include many posts about GG. thx again.

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