Gusto 101 was another restaurant on my list, conveniently enough it was also voted best sangria. And even just two weeks ago we had gone to the sister restaurant, Trattoria Nervosa, we headed down there on a Wednesday night. What we had not anticipated was that given Gusto 101’s location, it would be super busy- even on a Wednesday. It was a beautiful Wednesday evening and we were heading into the heart of the entertainment district. It was no surprise that when we got to the door we were told it would be a 1hr 45min wait. She was a little taken aback when Brent said perfect, that’s great! I gave my phone number and we headed off on King St. First to MEC so I could get a new backpack and then diagonally across the street to BarHop. We had almost 2 hours of time to kill and this outing was just an 8 minute walk away.
We figured we wouldn’t be waiting that long. Maybe an hour? That’s why we were surprised when 45 minutes later I got a text from the restaurant. I had barely finished my second drink, an unfiltered cider from West Ave (the blueberry one had just sold out, so my first was a raspberry sour). I got a second rather alarmist text asking if we were still interested in our table. At this point I was speed-walking along King St, desperately avoiding pedestrians while responding to a third text asking if we still wanted to keep our spot on the list.
I arrived sweaty and out of breath. Brent had stayed behind to settle the bill at BarHop. I sat there red-faced and panting, pretending to look at the menu. Soon the server came by and poured me some water and asked for my drink order and I swear there was a note of pity in his voice and it dawned on me. To the outside world it looked like I had been stood up. Once Brent arrived and our server returned to take our drink orders I was tempted to be like see? I was not stood up!
When Brent ordered a sangria the server asked: red or white. We both smiled, we had been hoping for this. Brent had red and I had white. It was a damn good glass of sangria, even if it was lacking in fruit. There were maybe 2 pieces of melon floating around in the bottom, the drink relied on peach schnapps to add the rest of the fruit flavour (no complaints here, it was delicious).
We split three apps because Brent was getting a salad for his main (despite merciless teasing on my part). The shishito peppers were amazing, barely better than Bar Raval but only by a smidge. The mushroom bruschetta was also amazing, but I only had one of the three, I had a mushroom pasta coming as my main and I did not want to risk overdoing it and being sick later. The grilled octopus was good, despite the not-so-great sauces accompanying it. I preferred it on its own. After all of Brent’s complaining about the capers, I finally tried one to see what he was talking about. I had tasted nothing olive-y in the dish. I have no clue what he was talking about, the capers were delicious and not olive-y. They tasted like the burnt crust of a cake.
The mushroom pasta was excellent, thankfully with just a light amount of parmesan that didn’t overpower the mushrooms. Brent was presented with a giant pile of kale, with just a sprinkling of shredded pecorino and parmesan cheeses. He had been expecting something along the lines of that time I ordered the buffalo mozzarella and it was part salad. I pointed out that it had been an app not a salad and his dish made total sense in the salad context: a giant serving of (horrible!) veggies with barely enough other non-veggie stuff to make an edible dish.
This time we had saved room for dessert: tiramisiu. I had debated getting the house-made cannoli but thought better of it. In the end this was the right choice as I felt so full on the walk home (drinking a bottle of Gatorade to counteract the earlier dehydration followed by 3 drinks did not help). The tiramisiu was so unbelievably light and not overbearingly sweet and the crumble tasted like Coffee Crisp. It really was some of the best tiramisiu I’ve ever had.