Saturday, January 8, 2011

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN ITALIAN: REVISITING NIZZA



Why do I love Nizza, in the old Film Center Building on 9th Avenue, just west of Times Square? Because they are welcoming to the gluten-free community, easy for vegetarians, full of delicious, comforting foods, moderately priced, cozy in winter, airy in summer.

Above, the complimentary gluten-free bread and olive oil. Eggplant rollatini with a side of sauteed broccoli rabe. Finally, the perfect brunch dish: two eggs over easy on a Mediterranean tradition, the socca. Socca is a chickpea flour crepe served in the north of Italy and south of France. Here, it serves as a base for pizza toppings or even breakfast. It can also be ordered plain (one of the most delicious ways, I believe) with sage leaves and cheese.

Highly recommended pre- or post-theater spot for diners of all dietary persuasions!

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN CHOICES AT BISTANGO





The bread pictured above and the one to the right are made by Everybody Eats of Brooklyn, NY, and they are delicious. One is their baguette and the other, their whole grain high protein loaf. Both are served toasted and warm as soon as you declare yourself a gluten-free diner. It's that kind of welcoming place.




This was our favorite appetizer, a portobello mushroom with roasted figs and toasted walnuts in a balsamic reduction.




If you've been eating gluten free rice spaghetti when what you've really wanted was a delicious filled pastas, this wild mushroom ravioli should fit the bill. We selected the butter and sage sauce, topped with grated parmesan.




I'd been craving cheese tortellini for two years. Before going gluten free, I'd had them several times a month. These, my first in such a long time, were so satisfying that I almost cried when I ate them.


This is an apple torte on a chocolate-coated nut crust, served with vanilla ice cream and cubes of fresh pineapple. If it sounds a bit complicated, it was. The nut crust might have been better done with finely-ground almond flour, and the chocolate didn't quite fit, as well the pineapple, which seemed a strange afterthought.

This dessert, a flourless chocolate cake served with whipped cream and the ubiquitous pineapple, made up for any missteps in the previous sweet. This was intensely perfect and even with several efforts, impossible to finish--it was that rich!

It's hard to remember Bistango being as popular as it is now when the restaurant was servng gluten-free options. Possibly because of the word having gotten out to the gluten-free community, reservations are a definite necessity, even on weeknights. This is a casual neighborhood restaurant, nothing fancy, but a wonderful find, if you're gluten-free (and even gluten-free and vegetarian!).

BISTANGO 415 THIRD AVENUE AT 29TH STREET 212 725 8484