Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gus' Cafe

Gus' Cafe is in Lawrenceville.  It has an entirely gluten free kitchen, specializes in vegetarian dishes, and a wide selection of gluten free beers.  They also have regular beers for your friends who can have gluten.  The beer selection is quite good.

This place is kind of set up like a diner.  There are booth tables along the side of the establishment and a bar that runs along the other side.  In the middle of the floor are funky metal tables.  Above the bar are their beer selections written in calk.

This was my second time at Gus' Cafe.  The first time I ordered the sweet potato ravioli and the deep fried pickles.  The sweet potato ravioli was a disappointment.  I would say it was more like a butternut squash pierogi, but not fried to a crisp in butter.  If they wanted to pass this creation off as a ravioli, they should have added a marinara sauce and possibly some mozzarella cheese or evn just melted butter on top because the way it was served was bland.  If they would have fried it in butter, it could have passed as a pierogi.  I really didn't think it was sweet potato either.

The deep fried pickles are what brought me back.  I wanted to give this place a second chance.  This time the menu changed.  I didn't see the pickles on the menu so I inquired with the waitress.  To my releif, she said they were a special.  I ordered the pickles and a cauliflower soup.  She mentioned it wasn't a vegaterian soup, and I'm alright with that.  I'm glad she mentioned that because I'm sure they get a lot of vegaterian customers and that shows she was looking out for them.

The soup arrived.  It was a brown purée.  Beef stock is not the way I would have made this soup.  I would have used chicken stock and cream as the base.  It seemed to have a squash taste to it as well.  The soup would have benefitted from leaving some chunks of cauliflower in it to break up the baby food consistency.  I couldn't finish this soup.

Then the order of fried pickles arrived.  If you eat gluten free by force, not by choice, you know fried pickles are a rare commodity - very hard to come by.  First because of the vinegar used to make the pickles and second because of the batter coating.  These pickle spears are awesome!  The batter is like a thick funnel cake around a delicious dill pickle.  The only problem is they are served extremely hot and I can't resist trying to eat them before they have cooled enough. Burning my mouth is totally worth it.  I really can't wait to get this batted sour goodness in my mouth.

Over all, there are some growing pains going on in the kitchen as the chief figures out what works and what doesn't.  The concept here is good.  For the most part, there are a few gems on the menu, but most of the food is disappointing.

If it has to be gluten free, you can't go wrong with a place that doesn't have any gluten in the kitchen.  There's no reason to be concerned about cross contamination.  The recipes will hopefully get better with time and its worth the trip if you are dying for some gluten free deep fried pickles.  Because where else can you get that?

4717 Butler St in Lawrenceville

Gus's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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