Guicho’s Eatery. 440 Camino De Estrella, San Clemente. 949.248.1910
1110 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente. 949.481.1070
Fittingly, Guicho’s risotto looks like a winter wonderland. Rolling hills of white are pocked by green asparagus pines and mushroom boulders. From on high, flecks of black pepper look like people, and strands of rice stand out as snow rippled by the wind.
Of course, risotto is a classic wintertime dish. The indulgent cream sauce and carbo-loaded rice base warms the body and soul. The consistency is also really easy to mess up—put the rice in too long and you’re getting chewy rice; put in too much liquid and you’re getting soup.
What’s so endearing about Guicho’s is not only do they nail Michelin-level risotto, but their take-out style service means it’s served in an everyman’s white box.
White wine added sweetness to the cream sauce, while parmesan cheese added salt and richness. Basic button mushrooms were quartered and added earthiness that permeated throughout the dish. Hearty asparagus, chopped into bite-sized pieces, brought more earthiness and a much-needed popping texture.—Matt Cortina