Three gluten-free restaurants

Last week I dedicated the newsletter to quickly answering seven questions from readers, but some questions come up so often that they deserve a personal newsletter. And by far the query that has appeared in my inbox most frequently has been about eating gluten-free.

More than 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease, although researchers estimate that many more people have the disease, and about a third of Americans say they are trying to avoid or reduce gluten in their diets. I don’t fit into either category, but I can empathize with those who feel as if their food choices are severely limited by the ubiquity of gluten in, well, all of human existence.

You can come for this in two ways. First, go to restaurants where gluten-free food is the selling point Gluten free in the West Village, Agata and Valentina i noglu on the Upper East Side, Modern Bread & Bagel in Chelsea and the Upper West Side, and the Friedmans chain restaurants come to mind. But that can be limiting, and the options often don’t measure up to their gluten-filled cousins. The second option, below, is to try some restaurants that I love with menus that aren’t full of gluten landmines.

A reader got excited a few weeks ago when I highlighted Postcard Bakery’s sandos in the West Village, which are served on gluten-free bread. But the gluten-free does not end there: the postcard is a derivation of Nami Nori, the temaki hand roll restaurant with locations in the West Village, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Montclair, NJ, are also completely gluten-free restaurants, from the miso tempura appetizer to the sesame miso chocolate chip cookies. The reason: Takahiro Sakaeda, partner and chef of both restaurants, has celiac disease.

I love almost everything Nami Nori has to offer after my first visit in 2019 I went back for lunch the next day. But if I were forced to pick favorites, I’d go for the shishito peppers and any temakis, but don’t miss the spicy crab dynamite or the coconut shrimp temakis, and the mochurros, or churros made with mochi.

Multiple locations

Another popular option for gluten-free dining is the Mexican restaurant of course, in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Chef TJ Steele discovered he had a gluten intolerance in adulthood, but luckily it didn’t conflict with his obsession with Oaxacan food. (Thank goodness for cornmeal, right?) Consequently, Claro’s entire menu is gluten-free, so you can eat mandarin aguachile fire, barbecue rolled tacos, and hearty chilled tetela with aplomb . And if you’re in the mood to party, you can order a $50 mezcal flight to go with your dinner. In fact, the restaurants mezcal ice cream with orange and Tajn is made with mezcal from the company Mr. Steeles, The Owl.

284 Third Avenue (Carroll Street)

By now, you’re probably picking up on a theme: Alternative flours and grains are gluten-free’s best friends, as are cuisines that don’t rely too heavily on wheat. And clearly marked menus are the ultimate defense. This especially applies to the fast casual American Indian chain in day; if you avoid gluten, look for their curries, two out of three of their signature bowls, or their salads.

At the two-year-old sit-down restaurant Inday All Day in Williamsburg, you can enjoy all of the above and my new brunch favorite that just went gluten-free: a crispy dosa made with yellow lentils and filled with bacon, eggs, and cheese, accompanied by tikka masala sauce and crispy potatoes. (It’s aptly called The Boundary Six, a cricket reference and a nod to the boundary it’s pushing between American and Indian food.) That and two back-to-back mango lassi, light on ice, they will fit you with nary. a gluten protein in sight.

658 Driggs Avenue (Metropolitan Avenue)

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