Monday, November 21, 2011

Gusto Cuban Cafe

7910 Harrison Street
Ralston, NE 68128
(402) 614-7800
Sun 4-8pm; Mon Closed; Tue-Thu 5-9pm; Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-1am; Sat 1pm-2am

Ropa Vieja Sandwich on Toasted Cuban Bread
(Sandwiches served until 6:30pm only)

Ah, the Gusto Groupon. It seems Gusto has been the "Deal of the Day" more than once, the most recent bargain offering two mojitos, an appetizer, and two entrees for the measly--and suspicious--price of $15. Desperate times lead to desperate coupons, I always say. But before I assumed the worst about Gusto, I headed in, sans Groupon, to see the place for myself. The hours can be tough if you're not a 9 to 5er, so plan accordingly. We arrived at 1:20pm on a Friday; we were told we had to order right away, and that we had until 2:15 to finish our meals and then we had to leave. Egads! Suddenly it seemed easier to get into Cuba without a visa than to dine there. I quickly decided to go with the dish with which I was most familiar, the ropa vieja entree, which happened to cost as much as the entire Groupon deal. This version of ropa vieja, meaning "Old Clothes," came with a trio of sides. To taste the robust earthiness of the kidney beans next to the congri rice--most likely a family recipe--on one forkful was truly delectable. Along with the candied sweetness of chewy soft plantains, these side dishes could have been a meal for me. The stringy, shredded beef brisket, swimming in a boat of tomato-based sauce, was simply not as exciting and flavorful as its accompaniments.

The deep wooden booths were scribbled and Sharpie-d with all sorts of shout outs and tags; it reminded me of what a graffitied Havanan alley might look like (or maybe just your average bar bathroom stall), and we thought about defacing it with some crude image just for fun (but we didn't). If you'd like to try Gusto, I'd recommend snagging one of those Groupons, since it can be a bit pricey for what it is, and don't necessarily expect pleasant service. It's a rough around the edges family place that I hope to try once more.

Toasted Parmesan-dusted Garlic Bread (to start)

Congri Rice--White rice and beans with garlic, onion, pepper, etc.
Fried Sweet Plantains--Like a candied banana of sorts
Red Kidney Beans--Eat with a spoon

The main part of the ropa vieja:
"Shredded brisket steak in a Cuban creole sauce" 


  1. Service can be slow. The food can be just 90 miles north of heaven.

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  3. The service and hours use to be a lot better. I have no idea what is happening to this place. I am a little saddened to see it going this route.