With a $50 for ($25) coupon in hand, my wife and I tried Gusto last night. While the websites for the restaurant said the dress code here was casual, the restaurant itself appeared to be designed with a bit more of an upscale feel. The food however, was very rustic and not overly fancy (that isn’t complaint).
The center area of the restaurant showcases an enormous crystal chandelier and a long bar area which featured a large mound of ice for their fresh oysters (only $1 on Monday). The cocktail list was extensive and interesting and they made a pretty nice old fashioned.
One caveat and oddity that we noticed was that the bread is brought to the table with a dish of radishes soaking in olive oil and anchovies. Why would they bring something that a vegetarian might not eat. I mean, after all, its bread, at least let everyone enjoy that. It was delicious though.
For our appetizers, I had a tough time picking, as they offer a number of fresh seafood options, plus 4-5 salads, soups and typical antipasti. I went with the grilled octopus salad, as I can’t resist and my wife the fried artichokes. The salad was huge with 3 pieces of octopus, with celery, olives and a nice citrus dressing. The artichokes were flash fried, crispy and the accompanying lemon made it a perfect start to the meal.
For my entree, i got a rather simple dish of tagliatelle with a tomato and onion sauce and pancetta. However, this simple dish, made with homemade pasta, was delicious and a very health portion. My wife ordered the ricotta gnocchi with pears and gorganzola cheese. The hint of cheese in this dish was both savory and added a hint of sweet. The gnocchi were like little clouds that I would love to rest my head, and then eat.
We opted for no dessert, as we were full. Even without the coupon we had with us, the prices here are very reasonable. The waitstaff was friendly, attentive and very helpful. The only issue was asking if we wanted cheese or pepper on our pasta, half way through our eating of the dishes. Other than that, the waiter we had was great. The plates were cleared quickly, table cleaned between courses and water glasses were never empty.
Overall, I would say that Gusto is worth checking out if you are in the West Village and are looking for some tasty Italian food. The dishes here are not too out of the ordinary, but the quality and prices are great for the location.