If you don’t know, you better ask somebody. Gran Gusto is hands down the best pizza in the Boston area. While the 7 pizzas account for a small fraction of the menu, you would be a fool to go and not order at least three pies. They impress across the board. The beautifully thin crust, which manages to pack two distinct textures within an eighth of an inch of substance- the charred crispy flavor of olive oil layered over a fleshy and giving underside of dough- defines the pizza, with the toppings serving as garnish for this triumph of the brick-oven. The pastas hold their own, though my search for a decent tomato sauce continues on. The gnochetti al forno were drowned in a thick swamp of red, a stark contrast to the fresh ingredients which characterized the other dishes. The simpler dishes like the pappardelle with mushrooms and sausage afford a more central role to the homemade pasta, much to this eater’s delight.

The decor is simple, which is fine, and the waistaff friendly. Extremely friendly. Verging on the weird. Our waiter sprinkled his description of the menu with suggestions of Liz’s beauty (Liz also dwarfed me in the proportion of eye-contact received), and found it appropriate to vigorously swirl our glasses of wine after pouring, assuring us that it would “make it taste better”. Perhaps. But perhaps this kind of paternalism might exceed the customer’s threshold for kitschy eccentricity. Perhaps the customer will be sitting in his seat anxiously clenching the bottom of his chair struggling to understand why someone found it necessary to swirl his wine. I bit my lip and suffered through it, but hear this Gran Gusto: next time I won’t be so well-tempered. From this point forward you will operate under the assumption that should I want my wine swirled, I will swirl it my self.

Despite these minor service foibles, you should make a date to go to Gran Gusto as soon as possible. I fear that its somewhat remote location will translate into a short stint for the restaurant, or worse, lead to a compromise in the quality of the ingredients. So do yourself and the greater Boston area a favor and go. Excellent pizza places are hard to come by.

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