Two recent dates led me to two new restaurants. While the food was great at both and everything was gluten-free, they exhibited opposite extremes of service and ambiance available in the NY dining scene.
Dinner at Back 40, the more casual East Village sister to Savoy Restaurant in Soho, was such a refreshing gluten-free dining experience. I presented my Triumph dining card, the server consulted with the chef and we were able to enjoy a perfect meal, including a shaved fennel salad, two types of grilled fish, one with a cilantro salsa verde and a second garnished with fresh grilled ramps. Sides included sauteed rapini with garlic, mushrooms with thyme and shallots, and a third side of cheesy potato goodness. Three different servers assisted us, all with grace and ease. At the end of the meal, one of the servers even thanked me for bringing in the dining card because it was so helpful to the chef in creating a ‘safe’ and delicious meal.
The service at Back 40 was in stark contrast to a recent dinner I had a Michelin-starred restaurant. I had to work with multiple servers to explain what I needed and my Triumph dining card was lost, with no offer to make up for their error. When my date suggested The Café at Country, a fine dining establishment in the more sterile Midtown East neighborhood I was excited to experience another Michelin-starred dinner. The food was fantastic, but the service did not live up to their reputation or their prices ($18-20 for one glass of wine??) Sizzling shrimp scampi with lemon brulee, a subtle fresh seared fish preparation and rich potato puree were all gluten-free. I savored every last bite, clearing my plate (also ignoring the antiquated advice I was given as a girl about how to behave on a date). I wouldn’t go back on a busy weekend night but on a slower weekday, the food and numerous gluten-free options make it worth revisiting.
190 Avenue B, At 12th St, NY, NY 10009
90 Madison Ave, at 29th St, NY, NY 10016
Phone: 212-889-7100Tweet Pin It
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