Chews Wisely: Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant

By Sam Forstner, The Dartmouth Staff | 11/10/15 6:50am

After spending countless hours scouring all three streets in Hanover that have restaurants on them, I came to realize that I’d exhausted most of the options this town had to offer. So I expanded my horizons to include Lebanon — it’s a bustling metropolis, relatively speaking. It’s not often I get off campus, so even the 15-minute drive that did not require a single turn felt refreshingly exotic. I might even venture out of state some time soon just for the rush.
My destination was a place I hoped would be a hidden gem. It certainly met the “hidden” qualification, tucked in the back of a strip mall dubbed “The Miracle Mile.” I ordered takeout (it is week nine after all — don’t pretend I have time for things), but I found the ambience pleasant during the five minutes I waited at the bar. The restaurant is reminiscent of a very colorful diner—both clean and well lit.

When I called to place my order, I got a question I did not expect. After ordering the enchilada trio, which is served with rice and beans, the man on the other end of the line asked “Uhhhhhhhhhh… Are you gonna want silverware with that?” This brought a great deal of questions to mind, such as whether or not the silverware would cost extra or just how he expected me to eat my enchiladas. But I responded affirmatively, and got my little packet of plastic utensils and a napkin. Maybe they were just trying to cut costs any way they could. Subway doesn’t put napkins dispensers out, presumably for the same reason.

The phone conversation had planted a seed of doubt in my mind, but then I saw a group of students I knew eating at a table — they looked happy and healthy enough. Then, and only then, did I manage to collect myself.

The enchilada platter proved to be just what the doctor ordered — though a real doctor would probably order me to work on portion control. One beef enchilada with red sauce, one chicken with green sauce and one cheese with mole sauce served over heaping mounds of rice and beans, with a bag of tortilla chips and salsa on the side. It was one of the better meals I’ve had in a while, which was especially shocking given the fact that Lebanon probably has about as much of a reputation for quality Mexican food as the country with which the town shares its name.

I heard through the grapevine after my meal that Gusanoz used to actually be in Hanover before it moved. Unfortunately I just hadn’t made it in time. I was sad, but then I realized that if it had still been in town, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my liberating evening drive. After all, it may have left, but it didn’t go far.

4.5/5 stars.

Sam Forstner, The Dartmouth Staff