I have to admit I STILL haven’t done the gluten-free restaurant crawl and it is indeed a crawl since there are quite a few here in NYC according to the Gluten-free restaurant program. Bloom’s, Gus’s, Bistango, I’ve heard all good things from fellow New York gluten-free bloggers like Gluten-free Fun, Gluten-Free Guide and Celiac Chicks but haven’t been to a one. I'm very glad they exist and that more restaurants are being added to the GFRAP program, it’s super!
However, I’ve had some mixed results with restos that have gluten-free menus. Experience has taught me that if a resto can handle food allergies they can usually handle being gluten-free but the inverse is not necessarily true.
For example, I went to Sambucca with Celiac Chick Kelly which was fun. They have a GF menu and our waiter was educated about allergies and cross-contamination. Yay Sambucca!
But I’ve also been Risotteria and they were NOT good with multiple allergies. In trying to order, our server gave me the “oh-god-that’s-awful-all-those-allergies-I-don’t-know-if-we-can-handle-that”. Sigh.
Not encouraging and thus an example of my fear confirmed: just because a resto is GF doesn’t mean that are well trained in other areas. It’s doesn’t mean they aren’t, just not a guarantee.
Dear readers: I don’t SEEK out gluten-free restaurants in New York City. I seek out and repeatedly patronize restaurants that care about food preparation, care about their customers, communicate well, and are fun! Frankly, anything’s more fun when you’re served food you feel safe eating! If that place happens to be part of the GF program, like Lilli and Loo, which I am so loving right now, then yay!
But experience has proven that "gluten-free menu" and "allergen-friendly" resto are not synonymous. Having said all that, I do plan on trying more of the GFRAP program spots in town over the next year and hope to be proven woefully wrong.
I'll report back.