The new addition to trendy King West in Toronto has finally come to enchant us with its rustic decor, wine on tap for $1/oz and superb Italian inspired dishes with a twist.
Having a personal weakness for squid ink pasta for its fantastic taste and texture, my first obvious meal choice was the Tagliolini al Nero.
Food made with squid ink is not a culinary delight. It’s an addiction. The intense black color and strong rich taste makes you want to eat this pasta again and again until none is left. One fork full of this black goodness mixed with cuttle fish, oven roasted tomatoes, fresh peas and lemon zest adding some tanginess to it, and you know you’ve just reached culinary addiction.
There are two ways of making this pasta, one is from scratch and as part of the pasta dough, the other as part of the sauce. The former being the most complex and rewarding in terms of flavour…so glad Gusto got it right!
And speaking of flavour, if some of you have yet to venture into ravioli, I recommend you do it here. The twist that Gusto has added to its Italian inspired meals is definitely seen through the Ravioli di Zucca.
Not sure how the chef came up with the idea of mixing roasted pumpkin, parmigiano cheese and sage brown butter, but I am glad he did! What an exquisite taste. The ravioli pasta is good, I mean we just settled on the fact that their pastas are fantastic, but in this case it’s not so much the pasta as it is the goodness of the ingredients playing in one’s mouth. Yes its buttery and rich, but the sweetness of the pumpkin just comes through so elegantly and discrete, it makes this a superb dish and a must try at Gusto.
I usually do not review salads because after having Lee’s slaw, all other salads were just ruined for me. That said, I was privy to one of my foodie companions (thank you Aileen!) letting me try Gusto’s Insalata di Salmone.
Finally on to desserts…Tiramisu and Chocolate Creme with salted caramel.
The Tiramisu was nothing worth mentioning, it was very light and tasty but nothing that will blow your mind away. The Chocolate Creme on the other hand was a hit. The salted caramel balanced off the sweetness from the chocolate quite nicely. Our waiter told us to mix the dessert well as it was drizzled with some olive oil…say what? Oh yeah, the idea was to get all flavours working before your spoon went in, and so we did. Needless to say, that little glass cup was wiped clean by the time I was done.
Note to reader: My only complaint about Gusto is that in an effort to sit as many people as possible in a small space, it has forgotten about their customers’ comfort. Luckily for you, if you are seated by the wall/mirror, you wont be as bothered; on the other hand if you are seated in any of the centre tables running across the restaurant, and you are party of 4, you better pray the wait staff has been trained to maneuver around you. It’s almost impossible for people to pass by. We were one of the unlucky ones and thankfully prior to the restaurant getting busy, we were accommodated in another table as my party kept getting their heads pumped by waiters and other customers passing by. This is something owner Janet Zuccarini should be aware of and address immediately before numerous free meals are given away due to these inconveniences.
Until next time Foodies!