Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gluten Free in New York City - Part 1

My aunt and uncle, who live in our hometown of Pittsburgh, have been waiting over 10 years to take us to New York City, since before my twins were born.  For years, my aunt looked forward to taking my daughters to the American Girl store and to see Broadway shows, but we wanted to wait until they were old enough to remember and appreciate the trip.  The American Girl store never happened, because my girls don't like dolls, but we had an amazing vacation.  

We stayed at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and our room had this incredible view.  We arrived at our hotel via Uber, which I highly recommend, from Newark Airport by 11:00 a.m., checked in, and headed out to buy some show tickets and have lunch.  Before our trip, I did extensive research on gluten free options in New York City.  I read the newly published New York City: The Gluten-Free Guide from Anna Sonnenberg of Gluten-Free Jet Set, and visited blogs like Gluten-Free Globetrotter and Gluten Free, Follow Me.

We chose to have lunch at The Little Beet, a fast casual restaurant, because it is 100% gluten free, and an easy walk from Times Square.  The Little Beet promotes their food as being 100% guiltin' free, because they use local, seasonal, and natural ingredients that are non-GMO and unprocessed.  

We all chose a protein and a side, which is only $10 or $11, depending on what protein you choose.  

I thought my salmon tasted fresh, and was seasoned and cooked well.  For a side, I chose lentils with kale, pecans, avocado and oranges in a lemon dressing.  I thought the lentils were flavorful and delicious, and a good choice as a side for the salmon.  My husband loved his steak with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, and my girls enjoyed their salmon and sweet potatoes.  

For dessert, we chose a berry donut and a brownie.  Baked goods at The Little Beet are from Sans Bakery in the Bronx.  I enjoyed the donut, but the fudgy, rich brownie was my favorite dessert.  

After lunch at The Little Beet, we went to see The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway's longest running musical.  We were able to get half price tickets for the 2:00 show at the TKTS ticket booth in Times Square before we went to lunch.  Both my husband and I thought it was the best musical out of the four we saw.  My girls much preferred Aladdin, Finding Neverland, and Wicked, which are more age appropriate for two 10 year olds.  

After Phantom, we walked over to Bistango at The Kimberly Hotel on East 50th Street for dinner.  Everything on their menu can be prepared gluten free, including their desserts.

My meal started with a complimentary plate of gluten free bread, which tasted like the gluten-filled bread I remember. Amazingly, every single restaurant we ate at in New York City had delicious gluten free bread.  

My family of four shared four gluten free entrees, including this Margarita flatbread with marinara, fresh mozzarella, ricotta and basil.  Our server told us that they make their gluten free flatbreads in a wood-fired oven, completely separate from where they cook the ones with gluten.  Even though the crust was a little soggy from all the toppings, this easily was one of the best gluten free pizzas or flatbreads I have eaten since my celiac diagnosis seven years ago.  

My favorite of the pasta dishes we ordered was the cavatelli with Italian sausage, kale, Calabrian chili, and stracciatella, which is the cheese on top.  The cavatelli was amazing, and this dish was so flavorful.  It had a little bit of a spicy kick, which I loved, and was perfectly complemented by that lovely pile of cheese on top, which reminded me of buffalo mozzarella and burrata.  

My daughter Emma insisted on ordering the fusilli with lemon-pistachio pesto and Parmigiano Reggiano, which we all liked, but it was our least favorite dish of the night.  The sauce was very tasty, and a little bit sweet, but there was just too much of it. 

For our final entree, we chose the Ravioli di Formaggio with heirloom grape tomato pomodoro.  I am usually not a big fan of cheese ravioli, but I thought they had a nice amount of filling, the pasta was al dente, and the pomodoro sauce was slightly sweet, which is the only kind of red sauce I like.  Bistango uses Le Veneziane, which is my favorite brand of gluten free dry pasta noodles, and their ravioli and cavatelli are from DePuma's, which I wish were sold locally in Orlando, because we would be eating their cavatelli, tortelloni, and ravioli at least once a week.  

For dessert, we shared an order of chocolate tiramisu made with gluten free devil's food cake, zabaglione, mascarpone crema, and espresso meringue.  The presentation was beautiful, and the portion was large enough for four people who had already eaten a lot of food.  Even though I prefer a more traditional tiramisu made with ladyfingers, I really enjoyed it.

This is just day one of our five days in New York City.  More blog posts to follow!

What are your favorite restaurants for gluten free dining in New York City?


  1. Souen, any of the Candles and of course you don't want to miss the original Babycakes.