Not having eaten at St. John in London until tonight I’ve only just realized what Gjusta’s inspiration for their aesthetic (and even their general ethos) must be. I assume this has been remarked before?
I like FH’s cook book but have never been to his restaurant. Gjusta isn’t particularly offal-y can you explain more where you see the connection?
For starters, just the look of the place: white-washed walls, the canteen-style approach, things arrayed casually on shelves on walls. (I’m referring to the Spitalfields St. John Bread and Wine location; I won’t be at the mothership till later in the week.)
Then there’s the mix of casual restaurant, bakery and bar. The approach to the food seems quite similar as well in many ways. Gjusta is more maximalist, of course, with a far larger (and broader) menu but there’s a similar mix of cured meats, bread-based small plates, salads, fish on toast etc. It’s hard to explain it but just from stepping into the place tonight I felt a sense of deja vu and this continued as the food came out.
The main difference is size (you could fit five St. John Bread and Wines into Gjusta) and the fact that here the food is ordered and served formally at tables (though the service is very casual). Also, the food at St. John is much better… (though not any cheaper).
I’ve actually been to St. John, very memorable meal…love Gjusta, but I don’t quite see the connection you are getting at. The casualness of the spot in which kind of simple, rustic preparations are made?
If it is true, I wish Gjusta would start offering Suckling Kid Faggots. The most memorably named dish I have ever eaten (and also truly excellent). I don’t know that I would say St. John’s is wildly better than Gjusta, but St. Johns also clearly aims higher to me… if Gjusta did sit down service, perhaps they could be equals.
fingers crossed for suckling kid faggots at Gjusta
I pray for them also❗️🙏
Well, just the look and feel of the restaurants are rather strikingly similar…take the whitewashed walls and casual/canteen atmosphere, add the luxe take on not-quite high-brow dishes and ingredients and the multi-generic nature of the places (restaurant, bakery, bar) and it seems hard for me to not see the connection. I’m not saying they’re identical restaurants, mind–they’re obviously not offering identical menus. Gjusta just seems to me to be very obviously a post-St. John restaurant; many are, of course, but the similarity of the aesthetic suggested a tipping of the hat to me. This is not to diminish/denigrate Gjusta; merely to note what appears to me to be part of its genealogy.
My original comment was made in the context of St. John Bread and Wine–I would re-emphasize it after having eaten dinner at the St. John mothership later in the week.
You are right but Gjusta feels so in line with typical Venice aesthetics I always thought it was incidental… Like Newton and Leibniz inventing calculus at the same time in different places. Now I really want to ask them about I haha
Except St. John opened 22 years ago and Bread and Wine opened 13 years ago.
Well not literally simultaneously.
It just seems to me like Lett would’ve mentioned the inspiration in one of all of his interviews I guess haha
Do they have a Twitter we could ask them on??
We were in the mood for some farmers market driven interesting Salads, so we stopped by Gjusta again today. But we got sidetracked…
Sparkling Ginger Lemonade:
Their fresh-ground, fresh-squeezed Ginger Lemonade is as wonderful and refreshing as always. Perfect for this muggy, hot weather we’re having this week! It seriously picked me up on the first sip.
But it was my tragic mistake glancing over by Gjusta’s Smoked Fish Case that side tracked us from their rotating Daily Salads.
Smoked Fish Plate (S):
Smoked Pacific Saury:
I was so excited to see Gjusta with yet another new Smoked Fish offering, this time Pacific Saury! The first bite is tender, luscious, naturally oily and strong-flavored. Like Mackerel or Sardine, but distinct in its own way. It’s more “mild” than either of those two, but it’s got this wonderful texture and ocean-briny flavor.
This was fantastic!
Paired with a little of their Pickled Onions and their amazing fresh In-house baked Olive Sourdough Bread, and you had one of the best Smoked Fish bites of 2016!
I was happy. But then I tried…
Yes, Kanpachi, the wonderful, fantastic fish that is usually found in the realm of great Sushi bars is now being Cold-Smoked at Gjusta!
Taking a bite: FANTASTIC!
The Cold-Smoking that Gjusta does is tempered, and it feels like they balanced it out perfectly to match the type of fish (their previous Cold-Smoked “guest fish” were all at differing smokiness levels that felt just right). It was the same here.
You get the subtle, delicate taste and flavors of Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack), along with just a touch of wonderful smokiness. This is one Smoked Fish that’s even better and probably my new favorite Smoked Fish in the city. @MaladyNelson @bulavinaka @PorkyBelly and all. Do not miss this.
And a repeat of one of my favorites, their Herb Gravlax is as fantastic as always. Just look at how gorgeous and lush that looks! It tasted even better, especially with a slice of their farmers market Heirloom Tomato and their fresh-baked Olive Sourdough Bread.
The Heirloom Tomatoes also reflect on the restaurant: That their staff that go and pick the produce from the farmers market know what they’re doing. The Heirloom Tomato was seriously one of the best Tomatoes I’ve had this entire 2016 Tomato Season! It was delicately sweet, with a touch of acidity, the way the best in-season Tomatoes should taste!
At this point, you would’ve thought we could’ve ordered some wonderful offerings from their rotating Market Salad case. But oh no, I also stupidly glanced at the menu, and noticed this:
Italian Sandwich (Ciabatta, Sopressa, Mortadella, Ham, Chopped Escarole, Tomato, Pickled Peppers, Fontina, Aioli, Red Wine Vinegar):
Yes, Gjusta has added a new sandwich on the menu. I’m normally not a big “sub / hero sandwich” fan, but our server assured us it was good.
Just looking it arrive and I knew this was something special.
This Italian Sandwich from Gjusta is THE best Italian / Cold Cuts Sandwich I’ve ever had! It starts with their own Housemade Mortadella and Ham(!). Their fresh-baked Ciabatta Bread (also made in-house daily), lightly toasted, with a crunch, but pillowy soft on the inside.
Their Mortadella, Ham and Sopressa are not overly salty, just wonderful cuts of top quality Charcuterie.
But it’s balanced by the delicate Summery sweetness of their Farmers Market Tomatoes, and the Chopped Escarole (so much better than Iceberg Lettuce) gives it a nice vegetable / earthiness. The Pickled Peppers recalls that “classic Italian Sandwich” feel from eating at old-school delis, with a nice bit of heat, and the Housemade Aioli is delicate, but creamy, along with the acidity of the Red Wine Vinegar and the Fontina Cheese gives it just enough funk.
Seriously outstanding! This is SO GOOD!
Thinking about it, it’s no longer surprising. Gjusta already makes the best “Tuna Sandwich” (it’s so much more) that I’ve ever had; the best Veggie Sandwich I’ve ever had; the best Prime Rib Butcher & Turkey Butcher Sandwich I’ve ever had. Their Falafel Sandwich is the stuff of dreams (thanks again @CiaoBob @bulavinaka)!
So, when Gjusta decides to try and make an Italian Sandwich? Sure why not. LOL.
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320
happy to help
Awesome report!!! I have a question, do you think this sandwich would travel well for an extended amount of time? Say 2-3 hours? This would be perfect for watching football and drinking beer.
Thanks. Funny you should ask that: The other half of the Italian was eaten a few hours later (kept in a refrigerator, before a car ride home).
The bread was softer, having soaked in more of the Red Wine Vinegar and Aioili, but it still held up very well (still sturdy).
However, you lose the toasty crunch fresh out of the kitchen. So please enjoy at least a bite or two, fresh and toasted, and then take the rest to watch your football game.
Thanks @Chowseeker1999, that kanpachi and “hoagie” look great, I’ll have to try it out.
Oh, wow, can’t wait to try this! I actually think Italian sandwiches generally do well with a few hours of marinating in their juices. I brought a Wally’s Hero with me to the Hollywood Bowl the other night and thought it tasted better than it does freshly made.
I’ve been meaning to try their smoked fish plate, and your photos are way too enticing, @Chowseeker1999! I mean, that’s really the stuff of dreams! Their smoked fish salad that I had this summer was one of the best things I’ve had this year.
I love their ginger lemonade too. It’s bracing in the best possible way if you’re a fan of ginger.
Oh. My. Gawd.
That Italian sandwich may be one of the best I’ve ever had. Salty, tangy, fatty, crunchy, funky, oily, spicy, and just goddamn delicious all around. I took it on the plane with me after letting it marinate overnight in the fridge. My only regret was any longing its pungent aroma aroused in my hungry fellow passengers. Big thanks to @Chowseeker1999 for turning me onto this one.
Ugh, I may have to try this this weekend (I somehow missed @Chowseeker1999’s update!). That sandwich looks heavenly. The “ugh” is only b/c I know italian sandwiches are so bad for you!!! ::sigh::
It’s a must try if you like Italian sandwiches imo. An all-timer for me.