A group of us ate at Gustavos (32-07 34th Ave in Astoria/LIC. (718) 267 1367). We like it!
We came for the Pisco Sours and stayed for the food. The Pisco Sours are well made: blended, frothy from egg white, a little nutmeg (or was it cinammon?) on top. $6. (for what it's worth, I liked it more than the one I got at fancy-schmancy Milk and Honey a few days earlier).
Gustavos is mostly a working-class Peruvian bar. When we were there the Peruvian/Argentinean soccer game was on. There are distracting TVs, but happily the TV sound was turned off after the game (But Spanish-speaking sports announcers are kind of fun to listen to, something about the rolling Rs, I think.). After the game a jukebox came on playing Latin music. While it's not upscale, it's not a dirty dive. The cliental is mostly men, but I don't think women would feel uncomfortable there alone. It's got a nice homey feel. Still, think bar with restaurant in back with good cheap food. My group of 5 ate at the bar.
The menu has roasted chicken, sides, ceviches, appetizers, and main courses. We had a half roasted chicken which was very good. Perhaps it's their signature dish as it has its own section on the menu. It was moist and pleasantly salty throughout, probably from a strong brine. The chicken was served with a delicious very spicy green sauce (aji?) that seemed to go well with most of their food. Maduros (sweet plantains) were delicious but they always are. Papas fritas were worse than average, but quite good with aji sauce (which would go great on belgian frites).
Ocopa Araquipena was new for me: Peruvian peanut base cream sauce, served over boiled potatoes. The peanut sauce is green, which is a little interesting. From green onions, I presume. The potatoes were boiled and sliced. Peanuty, mild, and very tasty.
Anticochos: grilled marinated cow heart chunks, served over boiled potatoes. I was little hesitant to eat heart, for no particular reason. It's basically a simple meat, with a very very slight innard/gamey edge. But I don't like innards at all and I did like the heart. To be honest, and this is strange, but this dish looked and tasted to me a lot like Korean boulgogi.
Choritos a la chalaca: stuffed mussels with a peruvian spicy creole sauce. I enjoyed the mussels topped with a mild rough cut salsa. Lots of tomatoes and onions and vinegar. And 6 mussels for $6 is a bargain. In fact, all the food is cheap. Sides (like plantains) are only $2. Ceviches are $10-$12. Half chicken $4. Appetizers $5 and entrees mostly $10-$13. The menu is pretty big, so there's a lot more to try. We didn't have any desert. But did try their three Peruvians beers: Cristal, Pilsen, and Cuzquena. The first two are pretty simple and light and would probably be very good very cold and a hot summer day. One (cristal?) was slightly flowery. Cuzquena is also light but a bit more complex and was my favorite.
Five of us ate light, but well for $42 (though our pisco-sour tab was twice that).
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