Pala is a great spot for gluten-free, gluten-free vegetarian, gluten-free vegan or glutenous carnivorous Italian food. Located conveniently across the street from the F train and a walk of a few blocks to the east side subway, it is accessible to almost everyone in the city and given the quality of the food, this is a very, very good thing.
We began with arancini, of which sadly, we have only a photo of the accompanying sauce, because they were devoured so quickly, even by the one of us who planned to have "just a taste." Spinach and mozzarella and tomato sauce, and fried crumbs and gluten-free--an irresistible ball 'o pizza.
Seating is indoor/outdoor along Allen Street, with views of the world passing by and, at least for an early dinner, without the din of many New York restaurants. Call me crazy but I'd rather hear traffic than loud music and inebriated screams. Nice table top, no?
This crust was so crispy and chewy--well, I'm sure you've heard this before--it was just like the pre-gluten-free days. But that's not as much of a compliment as this pizza deserves. It was great pizza, not just gluten-free pizza that didn't taste as if it was. Not overly sauced, with fresh parsley, pecorino, mushrooms, it was unanimously declared a winner at our table. And this was no skinny-crusted eight inch pizza for one, more an individual pizza-and-a-half.
A bouquet of oregano at every table? How often does that happen at your favorite pizzeria? Lovely. Service: fast, attentive, yet not the least bit overbearing. Ideal.
And rather than ordering the one item on a menu I can eat, as I usually do, I was faced with a list so full of gluten-free vegetarian options that I actually needed time to decide. What a pleasant and novel task!
I can see this restaurant becoming my post-Landmark-cinema dining spot of choice. I can feel how inviting it will be in the dead of winter. Or, for that matter, in summer when stopping in for one of their salads which sound so good. Or just for dessert: tarte tatin, among several gluten-free choices. In fact, there's really no time of year I wouldn't take friends here, if only to prove how delicious gluten-free food Italian food can be.