Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gluten Free in... New Jersey?

Yes, folks.  I have moved across the smelly river back to the much less smelly than everyone thinks land known as Dirty Jerz as of May of 2011.  While I am still slightly ambivalent about how this plays out for many of my closest friendships, my career etc, I see this as a great thing for this blog, as gluten free friendly restaurants don't seem to be nearly as obvious/lauded outside of cities, so this is a great way of exposing myself and my readers to new, safe places to eat.

Early picks that are delish:

Zinburger
Clifton, NJ
Burgers
*Freaking FANTASTIC burgers.  Go bunless.  They'll provide you with extra lettuce wedges as a substitute if you request it.  Most of their french fries are safe for celiac consumption.  As are most of the burgers. My favorites so far are the kobe cheeseburger and the namesake zinburger.  The servers aren't super knowledgeable overall (it varies quite a bit, very much a luck of the draw situation) but the managers and chef are on top of it.  I just asked questions at my first visit, not explicitly saying that I had an allergy and they guessed this and gave me a full rundown of what was kosher for me to eat.  Awesome! I keep promising myself that I'll try more of the french fry varietals, but the first ones I sampled, their "double truffle" fries, were safe (including truffle dipping sauce) and all sorts of good.

Joe's American Grill
Short Hills, NJ and Paramus, NJ
American/Pub
*I was shocked when I read elsewhere on the web that Joe's was a fantastic gluten free pick, since all I remember about them was the fantastic bread that they put out at the beginning of the meal.  They might oversell themselves a tad (example: ALL OUR PIZZAS AND PASTAS CAN BE MADE GLUTEN FREE... except the two I first tried to order).  That said, their manager was fantastic.  He personally served all of my food, assuring me each time that he supervised all the cooking and that their line cooks were knowledgeable about cross contamination. 

Portobello
Oakland, NJ
Italian
*Gluten free pasta can be subbed in all dishes except for those with white cream sauces with a bechamel base.  Many gluten free apps are available, and the wait staff was on top of it.

Tinga
Upper Montclair, NJ
Mexican
*Mexican is usually the easiest choice as most sauces are naturally thickened (read: without flour) and corn tortillas are found in abundance.  Tinga offers slamming tacos (beef brisket and shrimp are my current favorites) and enchiladas that are safe. They are also willing to substitute corn tortillas for flour in any case that works without really compromising the dish, which is great.

Terrazza
Nutley, NJ
Italian
*Chef was highly knowledgeable about which dishes were safe.  I had the beef short ribs over risotto - fantastic and safe, as the risotto is prepared in a beef stock.  Delicious! They advertise on their website that they offer gluten free pastas as a substitution, but didn't have any the night I stopped in. And it didn't sound like they were just "out" and needing to order more, either.

Happy eating!

2 comments:

  1. Welcome to NJ! Not sure exactly where you are but based on your other choices I'd recommend La Riviera in Clifton (gf menu w/ gf flour, pasta, bread crumbs), Cheeseburger in Paradise (dedicated fryer for fries plus GF buns), Janice's in Hohokus (menu is fairly basic but where they excel is in the dozens of specials nightly most of which can be prepared GF if they aren't already naturally so), Rutherford Pancake House (breakfast and lunch only, adding dinner shortly) and lots more on this list: List of Gluten Free Restaurants in NJ.

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  2. Thanks so much, Jason! I will definitely check that out.

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