Thursday, May 10, 2012

Restaurant Review: Gusanoz

Never a bad night when you start it off with a "big boy" skinny margarita at the new (and dare I say improved?) Gusanoz in Lebanon NH.  While I'm not 100% in love with the changes I am in love with the improved food and the ... by Gusanoz tradition ... heavy handed pour margarita, MUY BUENO.

Now.  I have been hearing a lot of negative about the new menu at Gusanoz and I MUST say SHAME ON YOU naysayers.  Maybe they were working out some kinks right after the make-over but I think the food was an improvement.  Very fresh and flavorful!  Also, BONUS:  They are bringing back some Gusanoz favorites!  You have to love a restaurant that heard your woes and remedied them!

Lets break it down...because I do have some suggestions for improvement.  White wash walls?  I WANT COLOR!  Slap a warm burnt orange on that beige/white wall and you will bring back some of the warmth of the old Gusanoz while bringing a modern/bright edge.  The mix of the current color scheme with the tile ceilings and florescent lights is unfortunately...a little sterile/cafeteria-esque.  I am not a fan.  It did grow on me (maybe as I drank more of my big boy margarita?) but it didn't have the same warmth that I loved about Gusanoz.  I miss the town secret, hole in the wall feel a little bit.  Bubble your personality back over the pier-1 import decor and I think you will find the perfect mix.

Muy bien y muchas gracias!  I had a great meal (fish tacos) but I would like to focus on the pre-historic sized leg of dinosaur meat delicious-ness that Jesse got.  This thing was amazing.  When it arrived to the table I looked around for Fred Flinstone.  Gannon's comment to Jesse was that he was going to have to pedal his car home! BAM BAM!  It was not "ribs" it was a GIANT rib (singular) with enough meat on it to feed 4 people.  It was juicy and tender.

My fish tacos were very good.  I loved the fresh flavors.  One critique...I wish there was just a tad more snapper in the taco.  This does bring up the big difference in the new Gusanoz vs the old: very fresh and light flavors.  Love.

I think Gusanoz is onto something good here.  I think they care A LOT about making the customer happy and are trying really hard to do that.  They have a couple things to work on: ("In order: Lights, Ceiling, Chairs, Walls" - Gannon...he allowed me to quote him ONLY when I told him he would be famous).

I know I already touched on this.  The drinks, unchanged in their awesomeness are still heavy poured and fairly priced.  Ian got a jalapeƱo margarita and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.

The awesome service:  Julius (sorry if I didn't spell it right!) is probably one of the best waiters I have ever met.  He rocks.  SO personable and genuine.  Jesse mentioned to him that he and I were lactose intolerant and he immediately marched out back to make sure we could eat certain things.  He even brought out a container of the mole sauce on the rib for us to double check.  I'm sure he gives EVERYONE this same wonderful treatment which is great even when you don't have food issues.  You can rest assured your order was placed with care.  I pretty much would go back just to hang with Julius even if the food wasn't so good (but it is!).

However and this is a big however, despite our waiter's attentiveness Jesse had a major lactotack.  Most of the menu is easily made dairy free BUT you would have to remind the kitchen you can't cook a dairy free meal on a grill that has butter all over it. This is what we are surmising happened with the side that came with Jesse's meal but it's hard tellin' not knowin'.  For everyone else, step out of your box and try something new and you won't be disappointed.  For those of you who really WANT their usuals back, no worries, they will be, NEXT week.

Overall:  Very good.  I think with a little time the warmth will come back to the atmosphere and the personality we all loved so much will shine through.  The food is improved and the drinks continue to rock.  Go with a couple of good friends (like I did :-D!), have a drink and enjoy.

Oh, and the chips still rule.

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