Yes, the more I eat at Gjelina, the more appreciation I have for it.
It’s a remarkable place you can go and get consistently awesome vegetable dishes, thoughtfully composed charred and crispy pizzas, and spectacular desserts along with thoughtful beer and wine, and usually walk out for about $50/person after tax and tip (maybe more like $60 now, since they just raised prices across their menu a week or two ago, though). And they’re open until midnight every day. It’s the epitome of a place where you can go eat simple, relatively healthy, unfussy, great-tasting food. Every meal there seems to feel “just right”, and be a steal for the price.
Sometimes you also get way more than you pay for as well, not simply great dishes, but ones that are downright addictively and manage to be utterly perfect bites. Recently, a dish of just a few large steak-like slices of salted, and oil-slicked king oyster mushrooms charred over an open flame were outrageously good in a way that was redolent of how Skenes presents dishes at Saison; tasting mainly of themselves, yet remarkably resembling the buttery, charred chew of a prime, aged steak, they even served them with a large steak knife. Or, on a different visit, a batch of braised spigarello in a leek fondue, adorned with chicharron made of guanciale; a dish looking like a loose platter of peppery, savory greens bursting with flavor in an entirely unexpected way. If the plating was more precious, one could easily see dishes like this on tasting menus costing quite a bit more money.
But perhaps more importantly, I don’t think I have ever truly had anything I would characterize as “bad” at Gjelina. That sort of assurance of a minimum level of quality in every dish, spanning a rather large menu, is something truly worth its weight in gold these days. I believe @CiaoBob has discussed this quality in other places; Lett’s focus on simply churning out awesome dishes consistently without a ton of media focus, or even trying to infuse “pizzazz” into the food is a rare and precious quality in a restaurant these days.