Ellen from I Am Gluten Free recently visited New York City and enjoyed gluten-free dining at Candle 79, the GFRAP vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side. Here's what Ellen wrote. Her one piece of constructive criticism:
I suppose the only bit of advice I would give the restaurant (and I did leave them a note) was to include gluten free bread items. I might've chosen the black bean burger had there been a gluten free roll to put it on. There are so many great gluten free bread options, especially in NYC. Why not take advantage of them? I would've liked seeing something on the menu that included, for example, a corn tortilla with some sort of black bean mixture for the insides of it. Their menu is so creative, I'm sure they could come up with something for us Celiacs that included bread.That's a good point. You can get gf bread (though not a bun, and with a surcharge) at Peters' on the Upper East Side, but you have to bring your own bread or do without at Bloom's. I'm sure it can't be hard for a GFRAP restaurant to keep gf bread frozen and then microwave it (and maybe toast it) for its gluten-free patrons. After I called Café Botanica at the Jumeirah Essex House--not a GFRAP establishment--to go over my needs for an event there, the manager simply got some gf bread at the nearby Whole Foods and served it to me.
Kudos to those restaurateurs who arrange to give gluten-free patrons a "complete dining experience"--from the equivalent of a welcoming breadbasket right through at least one or two desserts. Joe at Risotteria (where I enjoyed a gf strawberry shortcake last night) is outstanding in this respect--everyone now gets delicious gf breadsticks upon arrival. I've also been pleasantly surprised by the small gf antipasto dish provided at Bistango. I'm not quite as thrilled by the gf rolls at Sambuca, but I definitely appreciate the effort. So many people must take breadbaskets for granted, but even getting a single slice of gf bread can warm my heart and even bring tears of gluten-free gratitude to my eyes.