Friday, May 23, 2014

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant

My GFF Shelley and I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Cooper's Hawk Restaurant & Winery in Waterford Lakes for months.  

Our daughters had their last day of school today, so we went to Cooper's Hawk for a celebratory lunch.  

 I knew they had an extensive gluten free menu because I had looked at it online, but I was still blown away by how many pages and choices there were.  You can view all of Cooper's Hawk's gluten free options here.  They have a gluten free wine list, drink & beverage menu, appetizers, salads, chicken, seafood & beef entrees, burgers & sandwiches, lunch-sized entrees, sides, and house made desserts.  

There were so many wonderful things to choose from, I didn't know what to order.  

The gluten free bread we started with is the same bread they use for their hamburgers.  It was heated perfectly, and tasted quite good.  

From the appetizer menu, I ordered the Mexican drunken shrimp, which is described as bacon wrapped shrimp, tequila lime butter sauce, and fresh guacamole. My shrimp were cooked perfectly, and I loved all the flavors of this dish.  

I also ordered a lunch portion of the Dana's Parmesan-Crusted Chicken.  It was one of the best entrees I have had at a restaurant this year.  

I loved the combination of parmesan-crusted chicken with tomato basil relish and lemon butter.  My garlic green beans, which are hidden under my chicken, were cooked and seasoned perfectly.  

My chicken dish was served with a bowl of Mary's Potatoes, which are whipped potatoes with butter and cream.   They were just as delicious as my chicken!

My friend Shelley loved her Annie's Chicken Saltimbocca with prosciutto, provolone, garlic, artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes, white wine lemon sauce, Mary's potatoes, and asparagus.  

Her daughter Bella enjoyed her burger, and said the Mary's potatoes were the best mashed potatoes she had ever had.

For dessert, my daughters and I ordered a gluten free chocolate brownie with vanilla bean ice cream, and chocolate, caramel, raspberry and vanilla sauces.  The brownie is an OMG...It's Gluten Free Fudge Brownie, a brownie we are familiar with from Disney.  They are always fudgy and delicious, and we loved the brownie with the ice cream and sauces, which we ordered on the side.  

I tried a sample of Cooper's Hawk's sangria white and loved it so much, I purchased a bottle of wine before we left.  

Cooper's Hawk takes gluten free food preparation seriously, and the manager and chef are informed when someone with a special diet orders from the gluten free menu.  After reading amazing reviews on Pretty Little Celiac and Gluten Free Living Now, I was so excited to go to Cooper's Hawk Restaurant & Winery.  The food was all incredibly delicious, and our server Katie H. did an amazing job.  We will definitely be going back.  

July 10, 2014 Update

Last night, we met my friend Shelley and her husband for dinner at Cooper's Hawk.  My husband and I split two entrees, which our server offered to have divided in the back, so I ended up with two big plates of food. 

I was excited to order Dana's Parmesan Crusted Chicken again, but they were out of gluten free bread crumbs, so I ended up choosing Ellie's Chicken Piccata instead.  I was glad that this dish included my favorite Mary's Potatoes, and I swapped out green beans for the asparagus.  The chicken was tender, and had a delicious lemon butter caper sauce.  I liked the Dana's Parmesan Crusted Chicken better from my last visit, but this was a very good dish.

For a second entree, we ordered the short rib risotto, which is made with carnaroli rice, sweet onions, white wine, shaved parmesan, and white truffle oil.  I would have given this dish an A+ if the short rib had not been so dry.  I really loved the combination of flavors, and enjoyed eating the dish after I cut up the short rib and mixed it with the other ingredients, but the meat itself was disappointing.

For dessert, I chose the creme brulee, which was also a bit disappointing.  It was good, but was a little runnier than I am used to.

Shelley ordered the Mediterranean Salad with cucumbers, red onion, asparagus, kalamata olives, mild giardiniera, sweet grape tomatoes, feta cheese, chicken, and a red wine & lemon herb vinaigrette.  

She loved her salad and her dessert, a chocolate covered strawberry, which she said was the best chocolate covered strawberry she has ever had.  

You can view Cooper's Hawk restaurant locator here.

September 12, 2014 Update - Orlando will have a second Cooper's Hawk on Monday, when a new restaurant opens on International Drive.  This new location will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

Have you been to Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant?  What are your favorite gluten free dishes?  


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