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You’d think this was the only place for dinner on a rainy Wednesday evening as I arrive at 5:15 with no reservation.  I enter and I notice a little table with the hostess immediately to your right. It feels chaotic as there are a bunch of people just standing there (literally right at the door) waiting to be seated.

I ask how long the wait is and I’m told at least an hour. I then say, “That’s fine. Can I just wait at the bar?” The response was that the bar is considered a table so I can not wait there. They are happy to seat me at the bar for dinner otherwise I will have to continue waiting. I definitely choose the bar. I hate waiting.

As I’m seated, I realize I really lucked out because this is a great place to sit. I love sitting by an open kitchen so I can see the chefs in action. As I look to my right, I see the bar that I had originally asked about. You know the one just serves drinks as you wait for your table? Oh well. Bonus for me.

From my seat, the view straight ahead is of a very good looking and hard working Abbas who is in charge of the grill.

Tuscan Wood Fired Grill

My girlfriend K arrives and is cool with where we are seated so we ordered some drinks. We both try the  Gusto Bianco – Pinot Griogio and the Gusto Rosso – Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec . The  restaurant makes their own wine and they sell it for $1 per ounce. The wine isn’t bad but they do have lots of other options.

As we peruse the menu, we are able to see some good stuff coming out like the pizzas I’ve heard about. I notice two of the salads – the Insalate Grande (grilled flank steak and grilled chicken breast) seem huge as a meal and look really good to eat.

Our server comes back to take our order and I notice he is using an iPod! All the ordering is done with an iPod Touch and sent wirelessly to the kitchen. This is the new trend for ordering in a lot of restaurants and I do think it is very cool.

The appetizers we order were the calamari and the carpaccio.

Carpaccio – beef tenderloin, truffled canellini beans, arugula, pecorino

Calamari – jalapeño & cucumber giardiniera, roasted garlic aiolibo

The carpaccio is fantastic! I loved this dish. Thin yet tasty slices of beef with the beans is so good with the arugula that was not bitter.  The calamari was grilled, meaty and nicely flavoured with the sauce on the plate. These are excellent starters.

Grilled Branzino – green marinated asparagus, farro grain, olives, mint, feta, basil,
citrus emulsion

Grilled Branzino is another name for European seabass this one specifically originating from Northern Italy. I enjoy eating seabass and this was perfectly done. The only thing I didn’t like was the farro grain. I just think I’m not a grain person as I recenly tried wheatberry and I do not like that either.

Insalata di Salmone – crispy skinned salmon, baby spinach, quinoa, pachino tomatoes, avocado salsa verde, lemon vinaigrette

My friend K had the salmon and she wasn’t really impressed by it. Comparing the portion to the beef and chicken salads that we saw come out of the kitchen, the salmon portion was much smaller. K mentioned that the spinach was a bit limp and the salmon was a burnt. Yes, it is the skin on the outside, but it carried through to the salmon so they may have over cooked this one. She did not want to make a fuss so she ate some of it but most of it was left on the plate. When the server came to pick up our dishes, he did notice she did not eat most of the meal. He looked at her but didn’t inquire if she was okay or even why she didn’t finish.

On that note, I didn’t think we should stay for dessert. As this is a relatively new resto in the city (not quite a year old), maybe some more kinks need to be worked out. I did enjoy the food that I ordered I would go back in a few months to try some other dishes on the menu but I hope they work on having a better level of customer service and their organization at the front door.

 
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2 thoughts on “The 411 on Gusto 101

  1. Pingback: Gusto 101 | The Girls on Bloor

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