We went to Delicias in Rancho Sante Fe for dinner. I had called in advance because I did not see a GF menu online but was told that they will work with me and can go over all of the ingredients and adjust almost anything to make it GF. I spoke with Alex, the manager, and he said he would look for us when we arrived.
We were seated outside - the nice thing about San Diego is that it is always nice outside. We were given menus and an IPad. The IPad had the wine list, by the glass or by the bottle. Click on the wine and you are treated to more info about the wine, where it was from and a description of the flavors.
Alex came out to the table and said that he spoke with Chef Paul McCabe about my food allergy. Chef was voted one of the top 50 people in 2012 to watch by San Diego Magazine and previously worked at Kitchen 1540 in Del Mar. Chef came out to the table and told us about how he was willing to help make my meal safe. This was so nice and reduced the apprehension that I get whenever I eat out. We went through the menu, discussing things I was thinking about ordering. Some dishes were made with items that were not GF but would have detracted from the overall dish if omitted so we moved on. He even let me know that he was concerned they cook pizza and flatbreads in a wood burning oven in the kitchen and there is a chance that flour could be in the air. This really demonstrated that he understood Celiac Disease and he cared about preparing a meal that was not only tasty but safe.
For my star rating which gives up to 1 star for a GF menu I give Delicias 3/4 star. Yes, they did not have a GF menu to hold in your hand but the fact that the Chef was willing to come out and discuss the menu is a huge deal. I do like some restaurants that have a key on their menu for vegan dishes, vegetarian dishes and GF dishes; that may be an option for them in the future without having to print out two separate menus.
As for the knowledge of the waitstaff I give them a 1/2 star. He understood that I could not have the bread and items that were breaded but didn't know in depth details about the food. For example, he thought I would be okay with the meat dish with potatoes as a side. Chef Paul told me that the potatoes are pre-cooked in the fryer and therefore contaminated. I still feel bad asking the server and manager and Chef the same questions but examples like this are why you have too.
I chose to start with the Hamachi crudo. This was served with cubes of pickled peach and micro basil. On my dish they left out the fried oats to make it GF. It was also topped with frozen creme fraiche that gastronomically was put together with tapioca maltodextran. Visually, you think you are going to bite into creamy goat cheese but the cold material melts in you mouth and coats the palate to enhance the fish and the pickled peach.
For my entree I chose the Mt. Cook Salmon. This was a delicious piece of salmon cooked perfectly. It had a nice sear with a bit of crunch, perfectly seasoned with salt and the cook was to perfection - medium rare with flaky meat. It was served over a bed of greens, peas and a few confit tomatoes. On the side was drops of what I think was a rhubarb puree. The bit of acid in the puree with the sweetness of the peas pared perfectly with the fish.
I was served the appetizer from our waiter sans fried oats - a la GF. When a server brought my entree he let me know it was the salmon "100% Gluten Free." This completely puts me at ease - the fact that the kitchen is communicating with the servers. That give them 1 star for serving my dishes stating that they were GF.
As for the overall food experience for a total of two stars for taste and presentation, I give Chef Paul 2 stars. He said he would personally prepare my food and it showed. Everything was cooked to perfection and the plating was impeccable. Both of my plates were cleaned without even a bit of food or garnish remaining.
For my Ungluten Star Rating:
GF Menu: 3/4 out of 1 star. Not an official GF menu but the time Chef took to go over the menu counts a lot.
Waitstaff Knowledge 1/2 out of 1 star.
Served Stating that food is GF: 1 out of 1 star.
Food Taste & Presentation: 2 out of 2 stars.
TOTAL: 4.25 out of 5 Stars
I will definitely go back and you should check out this restaurant - you will have an incredible meal,
The Un-Gluten Guy