The tourist season in New York lasts 365 days per year, so if you want to visit the particular restaurant, you should definitely make a reservation of a table by phone call or through website beforehand at least a day. The city is very big, so I would recommend you to make a schedule in advance of the sightseeing and places, where you are going to have breakfasts, lunches and dinners during your whole trip.
The selection of the specialized gluten-free places is very easy to make via Google map by entering key words «gluten-free restaurant», «gluten-free bakery»; and then make a choice according to your main route. Despite the huge range of restaurants in America, which also provide «gluten-free menu», my own experience showed that the staff of most of them were not aware of what could cause harm to the clients with celiac disorder. So I would highly recommend you to eat only in specialized restaurants and cafes where kitchen is 100% gluten free. Usually such places are owned by people who also have themselves gluten intolerance or children with autoimmune disorder, so they are more aware of the problem and that may minimize the risk of being intoxicated by gluten.
At that moment in States there are very popular different gluten-free diets, for example paleo. But people adhere to those diets not because of the medical indication, but because of the willingness to lose weight or keep their shape. That is why most of the restaurateurs are guided by this latest fashion wave in food industry and don’t care too much about the guaranteed lack of gluten in the ingredients which they use for cooking dishes. And what is it supposed to do if it is so unsafety everywhere? Ask a lot of questions as I did that. During the reservation of the table by phone or the visit of the restaurant ask the manager, waiters or other staff: about the conception of the place, about the owners, about the ingredients used. As for me, I always don’t forget to tell the magic phrase (which I’ve already learned in a few languages): “I am a Coeliac”, so that it would be explicitly for the staff that you are on a gluten-free diet not because of the tribute of fashion, but because of the vital need. In the same article in Russian language I recommend for those who don’t speak English, ask their acquaintances who can do that, to make for them before the visit in New York City special cards in English language with phrases, which they may need at the restaurants, and, of course, reserve the tables via websites.
If you have except the gluten also other kind of food allergies or intolerances, as I do have, it is definitely better to announce in verbal way or in writing about that fact to the staff of the restaurant and also do it in advance. By the way, in most of the gluten-free bakeries in America clients are asked to place orders with: “no dairy”, “no eggs”, “no refined sugar”, “no nuts” 24 hours beforehand. But I was lucky – I succeeded to buy a couple of different kind of vegan cupcakes and cookies in every gluten-free bakery where I’ve been without advance order. In New York and also in other some cities in USA you can find dedicated gluten-free and at the same time vegan (dairy free and eggs free) bakeries. One of them is «Erin McKenna’s Bakery», located on 248 Broome Street, New York City, NY 10002.
I would also like to mention a wonderful gluten-free bakery called «Tu Lu’s» (338 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003), which I visited last December. The owner Tully Phillips was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2008 and she had succeeded to get professional culinary education in Austin (Texas) and to work for two catering companies before she opened «Tu Lu’s». I would like so much to take an interview with her and publish it here on the blog.
But if you want to taste desserts from almost all gluten-free bakeries in the city, including «Tu Lu’s», you can do it just in one place – specialized gluten-free shop «G-Free NYC» (77A West 85th Street, New York, NY 10024), where is a huge range of foods with no gluten, which can also be bought via internet and delivered right to the door of your flat or hotel.
And now is about restaurants. «Hu Kitchen» – is one of the groundbreaking places, about opening which I sky-hoot in my indiscreet dreams. Almost all dishes in «Hu Kitchen» are paleo with no gluten (except beer), no GMO, no refined sugar. The restaurant looks like a self-help canteen (the tables cannot be reserved), where are also a lot of options for take-away food. It is an ideal place for lunch and I think with the most delicious dishes, which I had been tasted during my whole trip in USA. But is eating there can guaranty the lack of intoxication especially for very sensitive people to gluten? The answer is “No”. Did I feel good after my lunch there? The answer is “Yes”. The addresses of «Hu Kitchen» cafes: Upper East Side, 1536 Third Avenue (86th Street), New York, NY 10028 and Union Square, 78 5th Avenue (14th Street), New York, NY 10011.
If you want to have 100% gluten free guarantee, you should definitely visit «Senza Gluten» (206 Sullivan Street, New York), which is certificated by following organizations: National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (was renamed and now is called “Beyond Celiac”), National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. «Senza Gluten» is an Italian restaurant, but I still so curios about and don’t understand, why the first part of the name (“senza” – free) in Italian language and the second – in English (in Italian gluten is “glutine”). Moreover, I don’t want to sound as a racist or too snobbish, but for Russian mentality it is so strange to get chef from Georgia (country, not American state) and all other staff of Mexican nationality, when you go to Italian restaurant. Because in St.-Petersburg and other European cities it is traditional and typical to hire the Italians for the kitchen in Italian restaurant. Anyway, the dishes were rather good, I would say taste more like home cooked food. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very romantic, so it is a wonderful place for dinner.
And now I am finishing with my first part of “Gluten-free guide to New York City”. Is there going to be the second part? I think so, because I hope to visit gluten-free baking master-class in The Culinary Institute of America this year and share with you my impressions.