I'm happy and I'm sad, the word is out on Gran Gusto.
On the heels of MC Slim JB's piece last December in the On the Cheap column (http://thephoenix.com/Boston/Food/536... ), Robert Nadeau wrote a review that was published last week in the main restaurant review column (http://thephoenix.com/Boston/Food/676... ).
The effect was perceptible: the place was jam packed this weekend. They've been steadily hiring to keep up with the bigger crowds, but there's now a sense of controlled (sometimes barely controlled) chaos I've never seen before.
The good news is that so far anyway, the chow is as good as, maybe better than ever. Just as Nadeau's column says, the pasta dishes that were good last year are now great, and the desserts are actually worth having. I'll add that it's one of the only restaurants I know where the nightly specials are actually, you know, special (highlights from the past few months: pan-fried halibut in saffron butter over garlicky spinach, grilled baby octopus and broccoli rabe, any pasta dish with fresh vegetables).
But my new love on the regular menu: the tartufata pizza. It's essentially their already devastatingly good pizza margherita with black truffles added, both baked into the pizza, then shaved fresh on top.
For selfish reasons [I'm something of a curmudgeon who loves great food, but often hates crowds], I'm sad that the secret is out. But I couldn't wish success on a worthier restaurant, and for equally selfish reasons, I'm thrilled that it looks like my go-to Italian restaurant will be sticking around for a while.