We haven't been out in a while, so it was time. With Valentine's Day coming up this was our Valentine's Night out. Got a babysitter. So where should we go? We have narrowed our restuarants to a select few that have been safe from a gluten free standpoint.
I was looking for something new and we gave Indigo Grill a chance. It is one of the Cohn family restaurants in San Diego and they offer a GF menu.
We used to go to KemoSabe before it closed and loved it. This was another restaurant by Deb Scott. I had been to Island Prime / C Level, another of the Cohn restaurants but almost ran into trouble when I ordered the GF seared albacore stack. They brought it to the table with fried taro chips (it has since been changed on the GF menu). We had been told by one person that they had a GF fryer. When I questioned the dish the manager quickly took the dish away (I had not eaten anything yet) and came back with a newly prepared plate, this time with cucumbers.
So I was a bit leery but was willing to try to take another run at one of their restaurants. I emailed them early on because I had some questions about their GF menu, and they were quick to respond.
The manager, Michelle Kveen, addressed all of my concerns and was willing to speak by phone before our visit to assure me that they could accommodate my diet restrictions. She came by the table and was very helpful and had a strong working knowledge of the GF menu and actually asked for my thoughts as they were getting ready to revamp the menu.
Looking at the GF menu online I found two dishes, 2, that were truly GF. All of the other dishes, and they were a lot, had omissions. The grilled romaine lettuce on the GF menu has the flatbread and fried capers omitted. The rojo chicken dish is dredged in flour on the main menu but you do not get the flour dredge on the GF menu. The pork porterhouse comes with fried onion rings on the main menu but they substitute a salad on the GF menu. On the flat iron steak the GF menu states that they omit the chili honey glazed quesadilla.
We arrived and we were seated. I got my GF menu. Our waiter knew the menu well and was able to answer questions about ingredients. The manager came over to talk and discuss the menu and the education of the staff.
I started with the butternut squash soup. (bowl $9, cup $7)
WOW! This is made with roasted butternut squash in cream and roasted corn piece, beet puree, creme fraiche and a cilantro pesto. It was so good, smooth, velvety and you were hit with multiple textures and flavors. When they brought it to the table they stated that it was GF.
My wife had the tortilla soup, and she enjoyed it, but when she tried mine she said that the butternut soup blew her soup away. The butternut squash soup is GF from top to bottom and is offered the same on the regular menu and the GF menu. The tortilla soup on the main menu comes with tortilla strips, on the GF menu they omit the tortilla strips.
For dinner I was hoping to have the whole roasted fish. The online GF menu lists is as a whole tilapia but when we arrived at the restaurant it was listed as a whole stripper - even better. This was the only other item on the menu (besides the butternut squash soup) that was GF without some omission (flour dredging, onion rings, fried capers, etc) - But they were out of it.
Instead I ordered the salmon. The Alderwood smoked salmon ($28.50) is served with a cucumber dill moleto and I choose pan roasted vegetables. On the main menu it is also served with housemade flatbread and squid ink pasta but these are obviously out on the GF version. I asked and was told that no breaded products are used on the planks but to be extra safe they used a new plank for my food. This dish was good, the salmon, seasoned with paprika and brown sugar I believe, was cooked perfectly and the vegetables were a nice accompaniment. I used to like squid ink pasta and the taste of squid ink in general, so I missed out on that, but the dish was good and when it was served I asked if it was GF and they confirmed that it was.
For dessert we split the coconut creme brulee with pot de creme. The creme brulee was good and not overly coconuty (if that is a word). As for the pot de creme it was a bit over the top with mint, so I only had a bite.
My Star Rating
GF menu: 1 out of 1
Staff Knowledge: 1 out of 1
Presented the dish as GF: I have to give 1/2 a star. The soup was presented as GF but I had to ask on the salmon dish.
Food taste and presentation: Out of 2 stars I give it a 1 1/2.
Total for Indigo Grill : 4 stars out a possible 5
We will return. My wife enjoyed her food and I felt comfortable that they were aware of the GF menu and dietary restrictions.
The Un-Gluten Guy