At 7pm, this place was busy, but we were offered a seat a lone table by the front windows. A small cozy joint, with friendly wait staff and a titilating menu with lots of meyer lemon, I was excited to try the place for the first time.
The Gluten-Free Nitty Gritty
As someone with many food restrictions, any conversation with the wait staff begins by spelling out my food allergies and asking about particular items I am interested in. This waitress "got it." I wanted the tuna tartar, which came with crackers. she pointed out that it has Ponzu sauce (has soy sauce in it) and would ask to have it made without, and also suggested susbtituting the crackers with lettuce. This is the kind of service that I would like for every dining experience! My partner and I had picked out 3 entrees and asked her which was gluten free. Out of the 3, 2 were already gluten free, so we ordered those. Even though the waitress was very knowledgeable, when delivering our food, she informed that she has let the kitchen know about my food allergies.
The Paleo Low Down
We had a steak with cumin fries and sword fish with caponata, a Sicilian cooked sweet and sour salad. The later was the most delicious thing we ordered, their version being made of eggplant, peppers and zuccini among other, with a nice tang to it. As being new to eating steaks, I requested for it to be cooked medium, which was probably a mistake since it was overcooked. The fries and sword fish were good, but not amazing. We also had a nice house red wine, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet. These items all fir into the Paleo diet...although, does wine really? Did cavemen have wine? Sure they had grapes, but goodness knows we can't go without some form of alcohol while fine dining. It goes hand in hand. Beer is clearly out of the question for gluten-free and paleo dining since the base ingredients were not part of a caveman's diet.
The Dairy-Free Deal
There were plenty of dairy free options. Many of the salads had dairy on them. This is usually disappointing to have without, since they often only have a few other items on them. My partner is fine ordering salads without the dairy, but it seems like a bummer to me. Our entrees were both originally dairy free and very satisfying.
Normal Rating: 4/5 stars
Minus 1 for good but not amazing food. The ambiance and service were good.
Allergy Dining Rating: 4/5 stars
Although it's nice to have the menu clearly marked which items are gluten free, or even to have a gluten free menu, the waitress was so knowledgeable and reassuring that it was ok. Preferably, I would like to be able to talk to kitchen staff in advance, tour kitchens etc. As a novice food critic, I am getting there. As a society we are just becoming aware of the needs of Celiac disease family members, friends, and customers. As this is a learning curve for all of us, I am positive they have room to grow to 5/5 stars.