Joan, the empress of Third, was sitting next to us so it was almost a guarantee that the food would be good.
Gusto is a loud little Italian restaurant with great service, white table clothes and fantastic, dense pork meatballs. They would have ranked very high on the meatball marathon a few years ago.
The Polipo – baby octopus, borlotti beans and harissa was a highlight. The execution was excellent.
The fichi – figs, whipped sheep’s milk ricotta and saba was a simple starter. Next time I would get the braised honeycomb tripe.
In choosing between the pastas we went with the papparadelle with oxtail ragu. It was great, although a bit heavy on the oregano.
The other pasta was terrific as well (despite the horrible photo). Squid ink agnolotti with sea urchin and summer corn was vibrant and rich without being overpowering.
Gusto will be part of the massive Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival. On August 9th Giada De Laurentiis is hosting and event with 25 chefs cooking Italian food. Restaurants represented include Mozza, Sotto, Angelini Osteria, Valentino and many more. You can buy tickets for it here.
While the hot tickets feature television personalities (Andrew Zimmern, the Voltaggio brothers, Fabio Viviani, Richard Blais, Ming Tsai, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Chiarello), there are also some good non-celebrity options:
Neal Fraser is doing a Swine + Wine pinot and pig tasting at 10:30am Saturday morning. I’m a fan of anyone who drinks red wine that early in the day.
The $500 Delicacy dinner at the Montage in Beverly Hills is obviously gonna be unbeatable. Lobster, caviar, truffles and champagne with chefs from Michael Mina, Post Ranch Inn, Bouchon, Patina and the Montage.
Check out the full event list and buy tickets here.