Gustavo’s Fine Guadalajara Cuisine
Entering the fifth week of their opening in Monticello, Gustavo’s Mexican Restaurant is doing well, and keeping the staff busy.
An offshoot of the original Gustavo’s, located in Cortez, CO, this cuisine is completely unique from other Mexican based restaurants.
The owner, Gustavo, and the majority of his staff are from Guadalajara, and the cuisine of that region can only be defined as “fancified”.
Upon entering, expect to be warmly greeted by Kelyn, a local resident, who is being trained for the wait staff. Gustavo believes in giving back to, and sharing with, the community. Training of the staff is of utmost importance, as everyone will benefit from learning and knowledge.
Our waiter though was Angel (also the manager), who hails from Guadalajara, and lives up to his name. Very friendly, ready and willing to serve, and a wealth of knowledge about the menu selections, and the cuisine of the region.
A truly excellent bonus to the diners is the chef, Miguel. He is a graduate of the University of Guadalajara, with a degree in culinary arts; and his assistant cooks are trained to do it up delicious!
The building is the old PJ’s, a rustic A-frame design with open floor plan and wood planking on the floor and walls. Happy Mexican music plays in the background, and I swear one of the songs was from Ricky Martin…ai-ai-ai, caliente!
Speaking of caliente, salsa and chips are served up immediately; and made in house. The salsa has a kick, but then you crave more; in the words of John Cougar Mellencamp, “it hurts so good!”
In fact, even though all supplies are shipped in from Gustavo’s in Cortez, all main dishes, appetizers, salads, desserts, and condiments (except ketchup) are made freshly in house.
Bestselling main dishes are the vast selection of Street Tacos, Chile Rellanos Crispie and Gustavo’s Enchiladas. My hubby, Roy, went for the Rellanos, while I looked forward to a diverse selection of enchilada and chimichanga. Both choices are served with rice and beans; the refried beans creamy with cheese, and rice lightly seasoned and fluffy.
Now be warned, the food you receive will not be what you are used to seeing. In fact, it is so pretty, a wave of guilt occurs when cutting into the food, for who wants to destroy artwork!?!
The Chile Rellanos Crispie is topped with a Caesar salad that mixes with the chiles and cheese; a slight crunch comes from the tortilla wrapped around each rellano and deep fried. This dish is packed with flavors, perfectly cooked; the Hatch chiles sweet and filled with a creamy cheese.
My chicken enchilada was stuffed with shredded chicken, a mild red sauce intermingled with piped over crème fraiche; the flavors are mild.
The chimichanga is filled with a mildly seasoned ground beef, surrounded with a crispy exterior, almost like a delicate puff pastry. While I wanted to finish up every bite, room for dessert had to be left. All the mild seasoning allows the palette to experience the various tastes, while spicy heat would only hide the flavors.
Angel recommended Gustavo’s Pie, and it was definitely a very good choice to end with.
This dessert can only be described as a square of lemony cheesecake flan; light, creamy and rich, but not overwhelming in sweetness. While whipped cream and chocolate sauce are nice complements, this dessert is delicious just as is.
By the way, after ordering, the food does come out quickly, but do not expect to be rushed to eat and leave. The atmosphere at Gustavo’s is casual, so just relax and enjoy.
Looking around at other diners, everyone was either eating heartedly, or laughing and talking between bites. Recently, Gustavo’s was awarded a liquor license, so if you are looking for a more potent potion to have with your meal, they will have it.
Monticello locals, or their taste buds I should say, have gained plenty from the addition of Gustavo’s to its restaurant lineup. Currently hours of operation are Monday thru Saturday, 11 am to 9 pm; closed on Sunday. Located on Center Street, catty-corner to Maverik, it will not be a surprise to see tourists and truckers also flocking into Gustavo’s.
Keep an eye out for advertising on their Facebook page, and shared to locally based groups; a Valentine’s Day Special is in the works.
Gustavo’s Mexican Restaurant, 216 East Center Street, Monticello, UT, 84535, Phone: (435) 298-8270.