Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Italian BYOB hole-in-the-wall FOUND: Buon Gusto, Huntington Beach

You might see the sign and think it's tacky and/or cheesy and keep driving. 

You might remember the previous space as spawning fast food's biggest and latest nightmare/dream-come-true: the Double Down, birthed by yours truly, KFC.

You just might not care (which is most likely the case) about the corner of Bolsa Chica and Warner, where the lines get blurred between Huntington Beach and a more expensive zip code (aka where Sandra Bullock lives sans Jesse James) Huntington Harbor. 

Not gonna lie, those are actually my parents

My Significant (m)Other sees the beauty in all things and is a profoundly tolerant human being.  That is why she convinced my dad (who is kind of the opposite when it comes to selecting restaurants) to come to Buon Gusto the first time.  She also pays no attention to vengeful  reviews. My mom has a keen wino eye and somehow knew this place does not have a liquor license, therefor making it BYOB and the perfect way to enjoy a relaxed non retail store dinner in the OC.

Deli Selection. Don't judge.

Since it's a BYOB establishment, we decided to go big, toting a 1998 Castillo de Olleria, gifted to us by our neighbor, the Admiral - the guy with a bionic knee who repeadetdly tells me "loose lips sink ships" and therefore does not drink, even 20+ years deep in retirement.

BYOB: Our 1998 dream turned out to be expensive vinegar

The complimentary bread was fresh, hot and airy with a crackling crust.

Yay for hot bread!

The place was full on this particular Friday, and the locals were all on to the BYOB dance party.

Typical white republican Huntington Beach crowd

Looking at the menu I started seeing Greek trigger words such as "octopus" and "feta" thinking to myself whoever put the menu together has good taste :) My eyes zero-ed in on the Stuffed Pepperoncini ($5.95) with ricotta cheese, feta and herbs.

Hot delicious oozing torpedos of painful bliss. 

Since dinner is not complete without a salad in my family, we selected the Mediterranean Salad ($5.95) with mixed greens, feta, kalamata olives, scallions, tomatoes and cucumbers. This salad seems boring but the dressing had something special in it melding the ingredients together making it charming and addicting. My mom is usually the last person to finish a salad, but she went to town on this one.

Doesn't look like it, but totally awesome salad

The waitress asked my dad where is from since he "has an accent" thus signaling the owner, also Greek, to come out of the back to talk to us. He was indeed the mastermind of all the Hellenic flare put into this Italian restaurant and a really nice guy.

My dad selected the Chicken con Broccoli Alla Panna ($10.95) for his main entree. It had decadence with a cream sauce but freshness with the garlic, broccoli and fresh tomatoes.  He gave me a small bite of some noodles then cleared his plate like a the Masters Track and Field champ that he is.

Pollo Pasta

My Significant (m)Other got the Manicotti Spinach al Forno ($8.95) with meat sauce. The fresh pasta crepes rolled and filled with soft white cheeses and spinach melted in my mouth with a little tang from the tomato meat sauce.

A delicious Manicotti mess

I am a sucker for Eggplant Parmigiana ($9.95) so I couldn't resist Buon Gusto's offering with marinara sauce and spaghetti. The thick, soft layers of velvety eggplant combined with robust tomato sauce and a hefty layering of melted mozzarella cheese made this one of the best eggplant parmigianas I've ever had.

Textbook Eggplant Parm

My new favorite eatery in Huntington Beach.

Buon Gusto
5005 Warner Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(714) 846-2600


gourmetpigs said...

I love how your mom scouts BYOB places. That's so cool. Thanks for the report! Not sure when I'll be in HB but always good to know abt BYOB :)

weezermonkey said...

Never judge a book by its cover! Nice find by your mommy. :)

Pinoy Panda said...

You had me at Stuffed Pepperoncini =)

Diana said...

Are torpedos the new balls?

Banana Wonder said...

Burumun - Hey, if you ever want to venture south I'll meet you here for sure (bottle in hand).

Weezermonkey - Thanks :) Mums know best!

Pinoy Panda - Hah yeah, they have stuffed jalepenos so it's about time the peperoncinis get their fill.

Diana - Maybe they are past the OC Curtain?

Ruth Abatzoglou said...

Anna you are right on with this one. You always need to do what your mother says!

Love you Anna....

We had fun and the food and company was outstanding!
Anna let's do it again...

I think I can find another bottle.. or two...

Banana Wonder said...

Mom - yes! We should celebrate your end of the school year :) Good find on this one!

SouthBayGuy said...

That sounds wonderful and it's relatively close by. Any idea how the lasagna is?


Banana Wonder said...

SBG - A lot of people were ordering it so it MUST be. Let me know if you make it down there :)

CaliforniaKat said...

OK, you've done me in with this post, Anna. Some of these ingredients can't be found where I live, and I'm just driving myself crazy with all the stuff I can't eat. WAH!

Banana Wonder said...

CaliKat - What ingredients can't be found in Greece?! I will send them to you :) in exchange for some Metsovo :)