Friday, March 12, 2010


Last weekend, we went out to dinner with our parents to Gonzo (13th St btwn 6th & 7th). We had heard good things and it was on our mental list of "places to try." Gonzo is sneakily big as you walk down a few stairs to get in and are greeted by a bar area with a bunch of tables. However, if you keep heading towards the back, you walk into a large dining room with an open, yet rustic, feel.. With the large, open room, Gonzo got loud by 9-10 PM when it really started to fill up. They seated us at a circular table, which is always nice when you are dining with 6 or more people. Plus, by going with a group of 6 people we were able to sample a bunch of the different dishes offered:

Appys: We'll start off with what Eric felt was the best thing that he tasted all night... Wild mushroom pizza! We ordered a pizza - half mushroom, half margherita - for the table and everyone was able to eat 2 slices (1 of each).

The sauteed mushroms & onions were carmelized to perfection and together with the muzzarella cheese and "tortilla-thin" pizza crust, it was a pizza party for your taste buds! Everyone who tried this slice was a fan! The margherita was fairly average, so we would say that if you go, try something a bit more exotic - they had lots of pizza options with a variety of toppings.

We also shared the grilled onion salad with aged balsamic vinegar and the arugula salad:

Both salads were a success and the same could be said for each: if you like onions/arugula then you'll be sure to enjoy this salad. For an additional $4, you got some aged balsamic vinegar on top of the grilled onion salad. We read before that this was worth trying so we indulged. No doubt, it was tasty & a great way to give the dish a little more life, but if you're not a big balsamic fan or don't want to spend $17 on a salad appetizer, don't feel bad for not getting it as it doesn't make or break the dish. The arugula salad comes with a tasty surprise underneath the bed of greens, but we wouldn't want to ruin that for you so you'll have to go to Gonzo to see for yourself!

On to the entrees: I (Eric) got the braised shortribs since it came highly recommend by our server (very sweet woman, although on this Saturday night, she was a bit all over the place). I normally don't order shortribs but I figured what the heck!

The shortribs were very tender, and were falling off the bone. The meat had tons of flavor and the fat was marbled right in there so very few bites were too chewy or fatty. The portion size was HUGE and could easily be split into two meals. Especially since we got a handful of sides for the table.

The creamy polenta was super rich and had mascarpone cheese mixed in to give it its creaminess. It paired perfectly with the hearty shortribs. The balsamic roasted brussels sprouts & roasted asparagus were both above average sides that paired better with some of the lighter dishes on the table.

Would I get the shortribs again? Probably not. Even though they were cooked very well, it was still a bit too fatty for me, and just not my thing. Next time around I want to see what their pasta dishes have to offer..

I (Jess) went a little lighter and ordered the grilled scallops:

There was an arugala pesto on top and it was a lovely flavor match for the scallops. Since it's been almost a week, I don't remember what went along with them, but it was a delicious dish that I would order again if I went there.

For dessert, the table shared two dishes: a brown sugar cheesecake & a pecan praline ice cream sandwich. The latter was held together by two pecan meringue cookies and filled with vanilla ice cream. The former was a slice of cheesecake heaven to top off an already rich meal. This was one of the stronger pieces of cheesecake we've had in some time with a great, crumbly crust and sweet, creamy filling. Won the award for the dessert MVP! Please make sure you save some room for it!

Also worth mentioning was that Gonzo had a great wine list, with lots of good reds & whites to choose from. All in all, Gonzo is a solid spot worth venturing to for a quality Italian meal. We hope to return soon to sample some more of their menu.

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