Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Toronto: Gusto 101

get your motor runnin'
:King West:

I would have rather hit the highway than have gone out for dinner.  But my dear, dearest Budgie knew what I needed more than I did.

If you read my blog you'll know that I have been waiting for Gusto 101 to open since news of its impending arrival hit my radar.

And it really opened in a blaze of glory and caused a feeding line frenzy of people waiting to be goo-stofied.  In fact, it's become so popular (as has being a foodie in general) that people are name dropping it left-and-right. When did restaurant name dropping become a thing? Apparently now.

It's a triple threat, and one. The 'and one' would be the spectacular rootop patio. Mark my words, people with fight to get a seat come summer.

Converted from an old garage, I loved everything about the restaurant. It parallels everything I would want in a man.  Raw and industrial, yet warm and welcoming.  Unpretentiously put-together with a side of scruff.  The sexiest part of Gusto is it's open kitchen.  Watching chefs work that line is like taking a peak under the hood.  Vroom. (I know, I need to stop.  But in-your-face-puns is the best remedy for a case of emotional writer's block.) 

Affordable food sets Gusto apart, but what makes it more unique is that it has its own micro-winery serving wine from the tap for $1 an ounce.  And believe me, this isn't the wine that your parents learned at "that winemaking class".

I've heard people complain about shady service and long waits.  I didn't experience either.  Our server was knowledgeable, pleasant and charming. Budgie and I didn't wait at all.  Then again, we're smart.  Going to a popular restaurant is much like going to see a movie on opening day, you should know better. Eat outside peak hours on off days (i.e. Sunday night at 9:30 pm) and you should be fine.  Of course, they do leave half the restaurant open for walk-ins and half for reservations.  That's correct.  They take reservations, so now isn't it a wonder why anyone is complaining. 
Budgie and I ate a lot. No more than usual, but we're always unusually hungry.  Okay, fine I am.
Delicately divine Carpaccio ($12.95)
Beef tenderloin, truffled canellini beans, and pecorino

Scrumptious Polipo ($13.50)
Char grilled octopus, tapenade, green beans and basil orange vinaigrette

My choice - Rigatoni Lucani ($13.95)
Braised lamb shank, fresh herbs, pecorino and peperoncino
Excuse me, I have a question.  Was that dill on my pasta? 
Because dill and salmon I get.  But dill and lamb.  My mouth got confused.*

Budgie's pizza - Spinaci ($13.50)
Buffalo mozzarello, pecorino, housemade ricotta (amazeballs), and garlic

Lenticchie aka lentils ($5.95)
Patate al Forno aka potatoes ($4.95)
Budgie and I were stuffed.  Certifiably goo-stofied.

For us it delivered in place and people, food, and price. Put your hand up if you disagree.  See, not one person did.

If I was in a "better headspace" I would have floated out on food cloud nine, but seeing as it took a girl who didn't want any company and fed her right.  I walked out on my own with a glimmer of a smile, Gusto was just what I needed.

I need more than good food. I need food that hugs.

*UPDATE: June 2012 - apparently dill and veal go together...and while it may not be my favourite flavour combo, THEY did it so well I believe. Do you believe?
Gusto 101 on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Nice!
    PS: Does you already participated in the giveaway on my blog:


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