This week, Besha Rodell marvels at the food hall-deli hybrid, Gjusta. The symbol of Venice's "gentrified future" offers dishes that are consistently "better than you imagined," with the LA Weekly critic calling attention to the particularly delicious chicken parm sandwich, one of the best chicken liver pâtés in the city, and Nicole Rucker's exceptional pastries:
Baker Nicole Rucker, who manned the ovens when Gjusta opened (she had previously worked at Gjelina Take Away) has left the business, but her recipes live on. The bread is crackly and stretchy, the baklava croissant a marvel. A chocolate olive oil cake with a pink peppercorn icing is both buoyant and dense, the prickle of pepper utterly mesmerizing. There's a rhubarb/raspberry pie available during the short rhubarb season, which beautifully straddles the line between sweet and tart and buttery; it is by far the best pie I've had outside of someone's home in recent years. [LAW]
Ultimately the food at this hipster haven is enough to win B-Rod over; Gjusta walks away with three stars.
The Elsewhere: The Offalo leaves Belcampo Santa Monica feeling conflicted, Bill Esparza finds Whittier Boulevard's best new fish taco at Mi Ensanada Fish Tacos, and Besha Rodell revels in the Petit Trois burger.