I’m on week two of globe-trotting (or United States trotting, to be accurate) and am now all up in New York City. Since you can’t always be in the perfect neighborhood for those gluten-free restaurants that rock, I found myself in search of a restaurant that simply fit the bill of “easy to meet someone whilst in between appointments.” That restaurant happened to be Stuzzi, in the Flatiron District.
I know, I know, Italian restaurants are basically the worst options for celiacs. However, I was standing outside looking at their amazing antipasto menu and thought I could totally make it work. But what happened was even more amazing, and kind of tragic.
If you’ve got the sprue, one of the biggest fears when you order at a restaurant is that the waiter or the chef will either have no idea what you’re talking about, or they ignore you because they think you’re crazy. At Stuzzi, however, when I went through my spiel and asked the waiter about the items on the menu I had picked out he was like, “Oh my god.” Apparently his sister’s boyfriend had just been diagnosed with lymphoma and the belief was it was a result of undiagnosed celiac disease. Literally days before I wandered into the restaurant this kid found out and said he’d been just devastated over the news. Poor dude! Obviously, he so totally got it. After my friend and I cried along with the waiter (I mean, Jaysus that sucks), he disappeared to the back to confer with the chef.
Here comes the chef. “Who has the gluten allergy?” I raise my hand even though I know the purists would want me to explain that it’s not an allergy per se, but an auto immune disease . . . Anyhoo. The chef proceeds to tell me that he does not have a gluten-free kitchen and he’s concerned about the flour in the air managing to find its way into my food. He then explains that the one “safe” area that exists is where the salads are made and where the cheese is stored. I mean, I was already all over the cheese and that burrata with truffles as seen above was at the top of my list. Look at that beauty! I’m salivating just staring at its glistening skin.
And I also had this ricotta arugula salad to enjoy —
So if you’re in the Flatiron and don’t have celiac, for sures go eat at Stuzzi. And even if you do, know that while your choices will be limited, they will be rad and you’ll be treated with the utmost care.
Have you ever been surprised at a seemingly non-celiac friendly restaurant?