Sunday, October 24, 2004

GOODBYE, GUS! Yesterday I heard rumors that the Greenwich Village restaurant Gus's Place was closing. Tonight, at The Amateur Gourmet, I saw that the restaurant had already shut down. [As of February 1, 2007, Gus's Place had reopened on Bleecker by MacDougal; on March 9, 2007, GFRAP announced that it was back on the roster!]

Gus's Place was a West Village favorite. Locals counted on it for good Greek dining in an airy setting. But the restaurant has a very special place in the hearts and bellies of people on gluten-free diets. It was one of the first and finest restaurants participating in Westchester's Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP).

For gluten-free diners, a meal at Gus's Place usually started with a tasty spread served with warm gf bread, making it the rare restaurant where gf diners didn't have to wait, salivating, while their non-gf companions raided the bread basket.

Gus's Place was also restaurant where non-gf diners didn't feel that they were compromising on food quality. Some dishes were better than others--but it was, actually, a rare luxury to be able to choose favorites among the numerous gluten-free menu items.

Through trial-and-error, I developed my preference for ordering at Gus's: I'd choose a mix of appetizers, skipping the entrees. My favorite appetizers were the grilled octopus and the scallop salad. The avgolemono soup turned out to be a great comfort food, too. When I ordered wine, I usually went with a relatively inexpensive Greek red; in its last months, Gus's also served gf Passover Honey Lager beer from the Ramapo Valley Brewery--for fifty cents less than Risotteria charges. For dessert, there were several options--including a warm chocolate-hazelnut cake and fig and hazelnut ice creams (served on a large, crisp gf cookie). I'll miss them!

I understand that Gus's Place may open elsewhere at some point. I hope so. It'd be good to see Gus wandering the restaurant again, greeting his patrons.

In the meantime, GFRAP continues to seek celiac-friendly restaurateurs, volunteers to train them, and donations to help the group do its work. Consider supporting GFRAP in some way!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

FROZEN FISH CAKES ON SALE! Omega's yummy and easy-to-make frozen fish burgers usually cost around $6. Lately, Westerly Natural Market has been selling them for $4.49! You can get tuna, mahi mahi, and salmon (my personal preference).

Yes, they're gluten-free--the label says so!

Westerly Natural Market is in midtown Manhattan, at 54th Street and 8th Avenue (212-586-5262).

Click here for the Omega Foods website.