This weekend I got to see an old friend of mine, Natalie. She is originally from New Zealand but worked and lived here in Toronto a few years ago where we met through mutual friends. When her Visa expired she moved to Australia and is now living in Chicago. While she was here we met up with other mutual friends that we hadn't seen in a while. We ended up going to Gusto 101 near King & Bathurst for dinner. An old, abandoned auto body shop transformed into a hip, modern Italian Trattoria. They are also a micro winery that has wine on tap and is served to tables in decanters. The old auto body shop roots give it an industrial feel but still welcoming, casual and romantic. They offer salads, appetizers, pizza, pasta, mains from their Tuscan-style wood fired grill and desserts. The food, service and ambiance were all great. Since I enjoyed the experience I wanted to tell you about it and share some photos of the food we ate. Another random fact, a good friend of mine bartends there. lol.
We shared appetizers and each ordered a main dish.
Insalate Cavolo Nero - lacinato kale, zante currants, toasted pine nuts, pecorino, Parmigiano and a fresh lemon vinaigrette
Bruschetta al Pomodoro - marinated heirloom tomatoes, toasted Tuscan bread, fresh basil and olive oil
Arancini - wild mushroom risotto, fontina cheese and tomato sauce
Everything was spot on delicious.
Moving on to the mains. Natalie ordered the Salmone alla Brace. The salmon is grilled and served with an heirloom beet and carrot slaw, quinoa and a lemon-avocado chimichurri. She said it was very good.
I ordered the Pollo al Mattone. It's a French-cut chicken breast (meaning a portion or all of the wing is still attached) barbecued on their wood fired grill. It's served with marinated asparagus, roasted potatoes, a carrot purée and a red wine reduction. The chicken was perfectly cooked. It was so juicy. The vegetables were great. It was a very balanced dish. Colours and textures were all on point. Just an excellent example of simple food done very well.
Other dishes from the evening included...
Their Saturday Special: Braciola di Maiale. Grilled bone-in berkshire pork chop, roasted potatoes, sautéed escarola and Vincotto (an Italian reduced red wine condiment).
Malfade ai Funghi - Portobello, porcini, oyster mushrooms, truffle in a cream sauce. In fact, two people in our group ordered this dish.
Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci - spinach and ricotta ravioli (go figure) with tomato sauce, stracciatella cheese and basil.
I definitely recommend this place if you get the chance. Gusto is Italian for "tasty" and 101 refers to their address, 101 Portland Street. The nearest city intersection is King & Bathurst. They generally do not take reservations but they do set aside some seating for online reservations for their first lunch seating at noon and their first dinner seating at 6:00 PM only.
Their telephone number is 416-504-9669. If you'd like to know more about the restaurant, check out their web-site.
Thanks for checking out my blog and stay tuned for more coming soon!