For the third month in a row, I am writing my second gluten-free dining report in a month. Local restaurants are finally understanding, I think, that gluten-free isn't a fad and it is a lifetime commitment for the millions of people who are diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance. This installment bring with it: trendy burgers on buns, beer, chicken noodle soup, crepe cones, Nutella cheesecake, tacos, turkey lasagna, salads, and sandwiches on bread.
Please keep in mind that none of these establishments with the exception of Le Metro Creperie have dedicated gluten-free kitchens, but they take steps to avoid cross contact during preparation. Here are this month's contenders in alphabetical order.
Flip Burger Boutique - somehow I missed that they added Udi's Gluten Free buns to their menu last year. They have put together the following handling procedures: Patty will be seasoned with salt and pepper only. It will be grilled and not cooked on the griddle to avoid cross contaminating it with other seasoning. Gluten-free bun must be toasted separately and without any oil. Burger will then be assembled on a clean plate not touching any kitchen surfaces. These procedures are great for the patty and the bun, but what about all of the toppings? Are they gluten free? Does the staff use gloved hands, or utensils in the toppings? They also don't have a gluten-free menu to help with the ordering process. Usually this is not a problem, but this menu is very involved. Has anyone eaten a gluten-free burger here safely and can share their experience?
Johnny's New York Style Pizza - is now offering Redbridge, in addition to their gluten-free pizza. These pizzas are not made with separate ingredients in a dedicated area, so cross contamination is likely.
Le Metro Creperie - has added a crepe cone (ice cream, whipped cream, and drizzle) and crepe lasagna to their menu. This lovely restaurant in Sweet Auburn Curb Market is 100% gluten free and it invites diners to step into a Parisian cuisine experience.
Meehan's Public House - will open its fifth Atlanta location later in August in the space formerly occupied by East Paces Tavern and Aspen Bartini. The pub will feature old Irish charm and a chef-driven menu from Executive Chef, Brian O’Rourke.
Metro Fresh - I was recently invited to sample the many gluten-free items on their menu, which indicates whether a dish is vegan, vegetarian, nut free, or gluten free and it rotates dishes daily. The owner believes in creating his fare out of natural and locally sustainable ingredients. The display case was full of freshly prepared salads (even a gluten-free pasta salad) making it hard to pick just one. We enjoyed the chicken salad with sliced zucchini and squash and a housemade dressing. We also ordered the vegan kale and sunchoke soup with a side of sweet potato salad, which was delicious. Since we went for dinner, which means special entrees, we had the lobster and scallop tacos with housemade slaw on corn tortillas. The gluten-free options are vast, the service is exceptional, the serving sizes are generous, and the selection is creative and pleasing. If you don't have time to dine in, just get it to go. Oh, and they have a nice selection of wines too.
Moxie Burger - in Marietta is now offering Pure Knead's buns for their burgers for a $1.25 up charge. The menu doesn't denote what items are gluten free, so be sure to speak with a manager prior to ordering. If you don't want a bun, they also offer lettuce wrap, some interesting salads, and popsicles from King of Pops.
Ratio Bakeshop - some of their gluten-free baked goods can be purchased locally at: Honey Bubble Tea, Inman Perk, Trace opening at the W Midtown, and Metro Fresh. I got to sample the Nutella cheesecake at Metro Fresh and I licked the plate because this cheesecake is so light and creamy and the crust is wonderfully flaky.
Ruth's Chris - will relocate to 11655 Haynes Bridge Road in Alpharetta. The space they will occupy has formerly housed two other establishments, Chill and originally Rainwater. Thanks Eli!
Southbound - is now open for lunch in Chamblee and it offers Udi's Gluten Free's bread for sandwiches. According to the restaurant, their cuisine is very gluten-free friendly and they have taken the unusual step of marking items that cannot be modified with a "*". I would question any items that are fried, given that most restaurants do not have the space to dedicate a fryer.
Starbucks - I honestly never thought this establishment would offer another gluten-free sweet treat, but they have added a Marshmallow Dream Bar from La Boulange, which is certified gluten free. They also offer a Flourless Chewy Chocolate Cookie from La Boulange, also certified, which is a crisp, chewy cookie with semisweet chocolate.
The Cheesecake Factory - just opened its newest location in the heart of Buckhead at Lenox Square on June 5. The restaurant offers a pretty extensive gluten-free menu, but make sure to specify whether you are gluten free for medical reasons or by choice because if effects the way your food will be prepared.
True Food Kitchen - is scheduled to open on June 25. The eatery takes popular trends in cuisine and pairs them with healthy living. All of their gluten-free items, and there are many, are marked with a 'gf'. I got to try their menu in advance of their opening and color me impressed. There were so many interesting gluten-free options that it was hard to pick just one. I settled on the chicken noodle soup with homemade shiratake noodles, followed by turkey lasagna made with homemade spinach noodles, and a side of their squash and tomato casserole. For dessert, I had their flourless chocolate cake with caramel sauce, topped with ice cream and cacao nibs. The cake was real cake and it was made with dark chocolate, so it wasn't too sweet, but just right. The restaurant is gorgeous with a generous patio area and an open kitchen. Their housemade drinks are inventive and refreshing. I also learned that they offer gluten-free pizza on Venice Foods' crusts and Udi's Gluten Free hamburger buns. It was a wonderful experience, although, it is a little pricey, but you get what you pay for, right?
Have you been to any of these restaurants? What did you order? Please share your experience!