Trattoria Gran Gusto

Una notte a Napoli
By MC SLIM JB  |  December 26, 2007


A popular topic in Boston’s online dining forums is “Where can I find great New York–style pizza?” It’s usually asked by homesick Gothamites convinced that New York pies are the world’s greatest. In one sense, they’re right: whatever you first came to love as a child and now gives you comfort as an adult is indeed the best style of pizza. But so-called New York style is simply an oversize rendition of the thin-crust pizza of Naples, Italy, whence pizza originated. So a better question might be, “Where can I find great Neapolitan pizza?” One answer is Trattoria Gran Gusto, a three-month-old Cambridge restaurant with casual, rustic décor and an authentic take on the cuisine of Naples — not coincidentally the owner’s birthplace.

Gran Gusto’s Margherita pizza ($12) is a paragon of the style: a very thin crust lightly charred in a wood-fired oven, a bit of olive oil, a thin sauce of San Marzano tomatoes with a fine balance of sweetness and acidity, copious chunks of fresh mozzarella di bufala, and a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. There are a half dozen more heavily laden pizza options, but it’s hard to imagine improving on this marvel of clean, well-composed flavors, especially atop this superb, alternately creamy and crispy crust. A salad such as the insalata di arugola (lightly dressed arugula, apple, and pecorino, $7.50) and one of these pies is a perfect light dinner of the sort you might be served in Napoli.

Other worthy options include il tagliere ($10.50), a top-notch cold antipasto of prosciutto, bresaola (a carmine, lean beef salume), sopressata-like coppa, aged pecorino, and softer, milder pecorino Toscano. The pappardelle salsiccia e funghi ($15.95), wide ribbons of housemade pasta in an elegant sauce of fresh diced mushroom and ground sausage, is another example of Campanian restraint and simplicity. But that pizza is what will call you back to this easy-to-miss spot in remote residential North Cambridge. When you bring your New York friends, ask the kitchen to slice the pizza once, so they can fold their slices in half. Maybe that’ll take some of the sting out of the Yankees’ latest post-season collapse.

Trattoria Gran Gusto, located at 90 Sherman Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Thursday, from noon to 10 pm, and Friday and Saturday, from noon to 11 pm. Call 617.441.0400.

Related: Sasso Restaurant and Bar, Ristorante Pizzico, Pho Horn, More more >
  Topics: On The Cheap , Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking, Cheese,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    In food-nerd circles, the question of authenticity is a loaded one.
  •   OYSTER STEW AT STEEL & RYE  |  March 01, 2013
    Pity the poor would-be restaurateur in the city of Boston.
  •   PROVENÇAL FISH STEW AT SYCAMORE  |  February 13, 2013
    For food geeks accustomed to dining in urban Boston, it's easy to be a little dismissive of suburban restaurants.
  •   LAMB BELLY AT PURITAN & COMPANY  |  February 01, 2013
    By about the end of 2011, restaurant-industry PR people had already worn out the phrase "farm to table."
    As a South Ender, I find it easy to admire the smooth professionalism and crowd-pleasing instincts of the Aquitaine Group, which operates six of its eight restaurants in the neighborhood, including Metropolis, Union, Aquitaine, and Gaslight.

 See all articles by: MC SLIM JB