519 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 242-5800

Organic food, in the last few years, has become a multi-billion dollar industry. One would think that some entrepreneurial soul would open a restaurant for holistic types who fear hormones more that a lobster fears butter. Wait! There us such a place; an organic-only foodery where carnivores and vegans alike can coalesce in culinary unison.

Seth, in the city on business and in dire need of warm food and my futon, met me in midtown where we decided to traverse southward looking at menus while I blathered on ad nauseum about my recently atrocious dating life. Frankly, all I wanted was a drink and really good food. Passable wasn't gonna cut it. Two miles later, we walked into Gusto.

We sat by the window in Gustos ultra-high-backed chairs. They were perfect for those winter nights when you're wearing a long coat. That said, it's to bad that the window was so drafty. I suggest that you pick a less drafty table unless you're wearing something warm.

Even the drinks at Gusto are organic. Organic beer, organic wine, organic cocktails. Organic shots are $8 each. At that price, I suggest that you savor every drop rather than line them up frat house style. Seth got an organic pale ale and I got an organic cocktail, a Caipiroska. Actually, I ordered two because the egg-shaped glass was actually plastic and, before I could take so much as a single sip, slipped out of my hand and was lost to the table. The staff at Gusto were nice enough not to charge me for a replacement. We followed these up with two more beers later on.

Seth skipped getting an appetizer, but that doesn't help you readers at all... plus I was starving... so I ordered the Empenada de Carne, a ground beef empanada. A single, lonely ground beef empanada. A single, lonely, delicious ground beef empanada. If you like your empanadas greaseless and sweet, soft but still crisp, then this is something you simply must order. I wish there were more of them. I wish there were ten.

Both Seth and I did the unthinkable and ordered specials rather than something off the menu. But I get the impression that the menu changes frequently. So, whatever. Ask for these dishes, you won't regret it. Seth ordered the Pasta Special, which is a fancy-schmancy way of saying penne alle vodka with asparagus and chicken. Al dente, sweet, smooth. Delicious. But not as delicious as mine, the Pumpkin Gnocci with Walnuts, which was incredible. Alas, the portion was rather small (good for my gut, bad for my tongue). Possibly the best gnocchi I've had in who knows how long and next time I might order two (bad for my gut, good for my tongue). In fact, I might ask for it even if it isn't on the menu.

After dinner, the meal slid a wee bit downhill. I ordered a coffee and Chocolate Ice Cream. The coffee bordered on terrible and the ice cream had the consistency of dust bunnies. It was clearly homemade. It didn't taste "bad" but if you're used to Edy's or Ben & Jerry's and like your ice cream creamy and butt cheek smooth, then skip it and get something else. However, that something else should not be the Tirmisu, a cake that looked far better than it tasted. Too moist, too syrupy. Seth liked it more than I did, but it didn't floor him and he rated it by simply shrugging his shoulders and grunting. Lastly, the tea. While I would certainly expect an organic restaurant to serve loose tea over bagged tea, I would not expect said loose tea to be served in a wasteful disposable paper contraption instead of a washable metal strainer. I mean, look at that thing. It just screams landfill.

One cocktail, three beers, one appetizer, two entree, one coffee, one tea, and two desserts came to $95 even, tax and tip not included.

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