I’m absolutely late to the Gusto party. After all, SIV already gushed all over this place. Hopefully I hope to catch this from a different perspective.

The grilled octopus, the pizza, the veal scaloppine special were all genuinely tasty. The grilled octopus, marked as an appetizer, came in a primi portioned shallow bowl, and filled the width of the service ware. Ordering three dishes to share resulted in left over pizza and enough mollusk protein for another lunch. The margherita, at $15, is higher than Olio, which is down the street, but Gusto is still providing white-linen and bread service, 2 precious items rest of LA has mostly turned against.

The young beef here was tender, plenty acidic and more appropriately weighed in pounds instead of ounces. It’s possible to “survive” a dinner solely on a primi at Gusto, and Angelin Osteria’s entrees are just as costly. What is it then, that irks so many about Gusto menu? I haven’t the slightest idea. The ten dollar gelato dolci is indeed exorbitant, so don’t order it. Don’t bitch, get the scallops for $18 instead. A pizza for $15 at a sit-down place in the middle of LA? Get that. Then consider a pair of pastas, and finish off by sharing a branzino. Or skip the secondi and double up on the primi piatti. Order smartly; don’t bitch about these prices when they’re from the farmers market, or local burrata producers. Alternatively, the local Superior seems to be forking over pounds and pounds of pork chops for $1.27:

Why does LA continue to suffer $35 brunches at “test kitchens” when there’s perfectly polished Italian dinners available at the same rack rate? Is a concise Italian menu done by an ex-Four Seasons chef no longer hip enough? Must we all be that edgy and sitting on reclaimed wine barrels somewhere in a Silver Lake warehouse gastropub? Shudder at that thought.

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