Jump to content
  • Sign Up
0
Shess0816

Just A Friendly Reminder About Gluten Free Menus

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I had an experience last weekend that made me remember how important it is to make sure to look over the gluten free menu every time you visit a restaurant. We have a restaurant we frequent about once every two weeks or so. It's a nice steakhouse - Johnny's Italian Steakhouse- and there are restaurants in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The manager in Nebraska remembers us everytime we come. He always takes the time to go over their gluten free menu with me and tell me any changes or additions that have been made since our last visit. I have had AMAZING service there and have not ever once been sick.

Anyway, we were taking a trip from Nebraska where we live to Iowa to visit my uncle. We were planning on getting into town around dinner time, so we had set it up to meet him at the Johnny's Italian Steakhouse in Iowa. We get to the restaurant and sit down to eat. I was just planning on getting the same thing I usually get in Omaha - tilapia fillet and veggies. Luckily, my boyfriend for some reason suggested I just go ahead and look at the gluten free menu just to make sure. So, the manager brought us the gluten free menu. I was shocked to see that my fish dish I get in Nebraska was not on their gluten free menu. There were items on their gluten free menu in Iowa that were not on their gluten free menu in Nebraska.

We asked the manager about this difference and he said that although all the Johnny's Italian Steakhouses have the same basic menu, they allow their head chef's latitude to decide how they like to prepare those dishes. So in Nebraska, my fish dish was just simply sauteed in the butter sauce, but in Iowa, the chef liked to lightly dust the fish with flour prior to sauteeing it in the butter sauce.

I was easily able to find something else on the menu I really loved, but I was really glad that my boyfriend suggested I look at the menu anyway! I could have had a really horrible week of being sick!!

So, my gentle reminder to everyone is this: Just because it is a "chain" restaurant you have been to multiple times, remember that there can be regional differences in menus and how food is prepared, so always always always look at the gluten free menu or speak to the manager every time you go!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We asked the manager about this difference and he said that although all the Johnny's Italian Steakhouses have the same basic menu, they allow their head chef's latitude to decide how they like to prepare those dishes. So in Nebraska, my fish dish was just simply sauteed in the butter sauce, but in Iowa, the chef liked to lightly dust the fish with flour prior to sauteeing it in the butter sauce.

I was easily able to find something else on the menu I really loved, but I was really glad that my boyfriend suggested I look at the menu anyway! I could have had a really horrible week of being sick!!

This is good information, as a reminder, but if you told them you were ordering a gluten-free meal in general, why would the chef dust the fish in flour before frying? I do not usually go to a chain restaurant for gluten-free food so am always checking out whatever menu is offered up. I am always curious to see who offers what, as far as gluten-free food is concerned and some restaurants do an outstanding job of it. Many places I go to do not have a menu but will be open to making what I want and I have had tremendous luck this way also. I think if you tell the waitstaff up front, that you are ordering a gluten free meal, even before you see any menu selections, that will prevent most mistakes from happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is good information, as a reminder, but if you told them you were ordering a gluten-free meal in general, why would the chef dust the fish in flour before frying? I do not usually go to a chain restaurant for gluten-free food so am always checking out whatever menu is offered up. I am always curious to see who offers what, as far as gluten-free food is concerned and some restaurants do an outstanding job of it. Many places I go to do not have a menu but will be open to making what I want and I have had tremendous luck this way also. I think if you tell the waitstaff up front, that you are ordering a gluten free meal, even before you see any menu selections, that will prevent most mistakes from happening.

Sorry, let me clarify. What I meant was that the gluten free menus at both restaurants were different -- on the main restaurant menu they make that fish dish differently at both places, so it was on the gluten free menu at the one in Nebraska, but not at the one in Iowa. We asked the manager why it would be on the gluten free menu in Nebraska but not in Iowa and he told us their chef in Iowa made the fish a little differently (dusting with flour). Now, I'm sure I cold have asked if they could prepare it without the flour and they would have been more than willing to make it that way, but I think their gluten free menu was trying to provide options that were just already gluten free to make it easier for customers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is good information, as a reminder, but if you told them you were ordering a gluten-free meal in general, why would the chef dust the fish in flour before frying? I do not usually go to a chain restaurant for gluten-free food so am always checking out whatever menu is offered up. I am always curious to see who offers what, as far as gluten-free food is concerned and some restaurants do an outstanding job of it. Many places I go to do not have a menu but will be open to making what I want and I have had tremendous luck this way also. I think if you tell the waitstaff up front, that you are ordering a gluten free meal, even before you see any menu selections, that will prevent most mistakes from happening.

You'd be surprised. I've requested "no croutons" on the salad and gotten them anyway. I've had them put burgers on a bun and then try to just take the bun away. I've had them bring bread to the table. Sometimes they just don't get it even when they do have a gluten-free menu.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You'd be surprised. I've requested "no croutons" on the salad and gotten them anyway. I've had them put burgers on a bun and then try to just take the bun away. I've had them bring bread to the table. Sometimes they just don't get it even when they do have a gluten-free menu.

I concur. One time I ordered take-out from Outback Steakhouse. I did the online ordering and wrote 'gluten free!!!' a million times. Then I called just to make sure they got the GLUTEN FREE!!! part. Then they asked if I wanted bread with it, and I was all "Um, duh, NO!!" So after I go to pick up my food. What do I see? A stupid little bread loaf tucked in the bag. Boo. Outback has never 'glutened' me but I'm wary of the take out.

And yeah, anyway. Half the time the waiters give me blank, blank stares when I say I am gluten-free. Other times a bead of sweat will form on their forehead and their whole demeanor shifts from friendly to scared (really, I've had that happen lol). Then, which I find happens less than the other two, there are those golden few who are confident and secure and reassuring that they understand what 'gluten free' is. They'll volunteer themselves about leaving croutons off, and won't bring bread, etc. without me even having to tell them. Anyway usually the ones who give me blank stares, if it's at a restaurant with a gluten free menu, etc...usually I will say "JUST MAKE SURE YOU WRITE IT DOWN AND MARK THAT IT MUST BE GLUTEN FREE AND MAKE SURE THAT THE CHEF KNOWS. MAKE SURE THE CHEF KNOWS." lol. I go with the assumption that I have to spell it out, and I pretty much do every time. "Caesar salad...which of course needs to be prepared in a seperate bowl, with no croutons, etc..." gets annoying after a while but better safe than sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0

×