While being vegetarian or vegan may be a lifestyle choice for most, food allergies can take quite a toll given the imposed dietary restrictions. For individuals suffering from celiac disease, the use of gluten, a protein composite found in everything from bread to beer, can make it tricky to dine out even in New York. As more awareness is generated about celiac disease and making food without using gluten, restaurants are becoming more conscientious about their customers by offering gluten free options. One restaurant has taken it a step further as a gluten-free restaurant that caters to everyone. Entrepreneur Miki Agrawal has teamed up with restaurateur Walid Hammami (Café Rafaella, Angelina and Atlas Cafés) to open WILD in Williamsburg—the third location of the expanding franchise.
WILD was born out of a stomachache, literally. Ms. Agrawal suffered from recurring stomachaches and found it necessary to give up her favorite food—pizza. “I began researching food and the processed food industry and realized I was intolerant to additives, hormones, and pesticides found in mass food production,” she said. Ms. Agrawal set out on a mission to make pizza tolerable again. She spent the next nine years perfecting an organic gluten-free pizza crust that would become WILD’s signature.
Motivated by her own struggle with gluten and other ingredients in processed foods, Ms. Agrawal created an eatery that would specialize in organic, gluten-free grub. “Our mission is to give people a positive environment to eat nourishing, yummy food, and offer true peace of mind,” she said. WILD integrates the farm-to-table approach working with local purveyors from the tri-state area.
Set against a rustic backdrop, WILD offers up a cozy, locally-sourced farmhouse chic décor with Brooklyn-made reclaimed wood tables and vintage picture frames hanging on the walls. Wild also features a spacious greenhouse, perfect for hosting private events.
Peruse the menu while enjoying a glass of one of several different New York-based wines, including Viognier from Goose Watch Winery (Finger Lakes, $11/$40) and Red Blend NV from Osprey's Dominion's Richmond Creek collection (North Fork, $9/$32). Beer lovers will enjoy the local selection from Brooklyn, as well as Long Island and upstate. For something fruity and refreshing go with the red or white sangria.
WILD offers several Mediterranean starters including the avocado salad ($12)—avocado, corn, tomato, and lemon olive oil—and the bruschetta ($4)—red and yellow tomatoes, basil, mint, and mozzarella cheese.
Dining at WILD requires at least one pizza if not a few ($13 personal/$24 to share). With WILD’s gluten-free and vegan crust made from wild yeast and hormone-free cheese and meats, everyone can eat pizza again. The menu features enticing choices including spinach artichoke—baby spinach, artichoke, bacon, and goat cheese—and classic mozzarella featuring gluten-free marinara and fresh basil. Perhaps WILD’s most popular pizza is the pear fig gorgonzola featuring pear purée, pear, figs, and fresh rosemary.
If you opt for pizza as an appetizer to share, diners will be pleased with the gluten-free entrées such as the wild chicken parm ($14), featuring gluten-fee breading and pasta (regular pasta is available as well), and homemade tagilatelle ($14) with mushrooms. If you are craving fish, the pan-seared salmon ($16) with a subtle caper sauce. will hit the spot
The gluten-free adventure does not end there. With several desserts sans the gluten—brownies and cheesecake are a must—you will conclude that thanks to WILD, delicious gluten-free food does exist. Now if only there was something we could do about getting rid of the calories.
340 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211