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Aug 11, 2011 11:42 AM

5 nights with coeliac dad - help !

Hey all

Am travelling to New York (from UK) with my parents for 5 nights in early December as a gift for my mum's 65th birthday. I have been to your fair city many times but neither of them has ever been.

A complication is that my dad has coeliac disease which means that he needs a gluten/wheat free diet.

I am sure that there are tons of places in Manhattan which can accommodate his diet but I would massively appreciate your expert local guidance on the following ( have numbered them for ease of reply ! )

1. Hotels - likely to stay Midtown and was thinking somewhere fairly safe
like the new(ish ) Intercontinental or the ( recently refurbed ? ) Omni in that area. Parents would probably prefer to breakfast in the hotel so wonder
a. Any idea if these places would cater well for my dad ?
b. Any other recs for better hotels or hotels that would be more bespoke ( or indeed friendly and attentive ) in terms of his diet ?
c. Any great midtwon breakfast places that will cater for him if I can get them to venture out for a 'proper' New York breakfast ?

2.Lunch - am I right in assuming that most delis will have gluten free bagels or bread available ?
If not - are there any generally safe options or chains we can look out for ?

3.Touristy places - apologies for this question ( very non Chowhoundish, I know ) but I am obviously going to be taking them to Empire State, Rockefeller, the Met, Bloomingdales, Central Park, possible MOMA etc- any recs in these tourist zones would be very welcome ?

4.Dinner places - what I would love is either places that serve a combo of GF and none GF foods, or GF or vegan places that are so good that my mum will love them anyway. My mum and dad are not adventurous eaters - they will like classic bistro fayre, Italian, maybe Spanish - not really Asian food at all. They both love fish, if that helps any !

They have never been to the US before so anything quintessentially America or New York they will also love. Price range from great bargains to ,say $50 - 60 a head excluding drinks and tip... apart from ......

5.Also, as it is for my mum's 65th is there one place we should not miss whether in terms of view, service, chow or whatever. For example - I have skirted around going to Gramercy Tavern a few times but never been. How would they be on the GF front ? Is it showy or ostentatious service - that would make them feel uncomfortable.

Happy to spend more on a great night if it is good value for money - and if my parents will feekl it was good value and not just super clever or intricate or whatever - they will just think that is pretentious crap.

6.Burgers - sounds daft but I would love to be able to take them to a great burger place despite dad's wheat free needs. Any chance ? Have recently been to 5 napkin and Rare but do not recall any GF options (though to be fair I wasn't looking!).

7.I assume that Shake Shack is a 'no' ?

8.I saw on one post that Blue Smoke has GF options but also have read thatis has gone 'off' somewhat - I went 5 years ago and thought it was okaaay but not great.

9.Finally - drinks !

Are there any great New York Bars for cider ? I usually go for unswanky places ( Jimmy's Corner, Pony Bar for example) but am not sure these would be great choices with my mum and dad in tow. Any ideas ?

What is the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central like ?

Hope you can help with all or any of these questions. Happy to clarify anything that is too vague !

Thanks in advance for your help.

Gramercy Tavern
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

Campbell Apartment
89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

Jimmy's Corner
140 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Pony Bar
637 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

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  1. Do any of the options listed in these threads sound good?

    I think any nicer restaurant can definitely do gluten-free dishes especially if you warn them ahead of time -- it's a pretty common food sensitivity nowadays.

    I just went to Blue Smoke the other day and it was good, so I wouldn't hesitate to go there. In my experience all of the Danny Meyer places are excellent about allergies, etc.

    For Shake Shack, or any burger place really, you can order your burger without the bun.

    Campbell Apartment can be nice, but be warned that there's a dress code and it gets busy around commute hours, but can be very quiet other times.

    Shake Shack
    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

    Blue Smoke
    116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

    Campbell Apartment
    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Hey , thanks for your help. Sorry to be dim but any other recommended Danny Meyer places I might try ?

      Any thoughts on Gramercy as big night out venue ?

      Thanks again

      1. re: willowan

        Danny Meyer started with The Union Square Cafe and I think your parents would like it there. We are their age and we do plus my husband had a fairly obscure food no no that conflicted with some medication and his meal was pretty much cooked to order! Delicious too. Also we have enjoyed Blue Smoke both for the excellent jazz and barbeque. (If you were from North Carolina or Texas I wouldn't recommend barbeque but for UK and New England folk like us it is really good). For our next visit Labor Day weekend we plan to go to Eataly, early rather than later, and also to the High Line and check out the food vendors and beer garden.

        Union Square Cafe
        21 East 16th St., New York, NY 10003

        Blue Smoke
        116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: willowan

          Danny Meyer's restaurants:

          They include Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, all of which you've already expressed interest in. In my experience, they all have fantastic service (remembering your likes and dislikes, your favorite table, birthdays, giving umbrellas in the rain) and definitely accommodate allergies.

          Gramercy Tavern
          42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

          Blue Smoke
          116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

        2. re: kathryn

          As usual, Kathryn's suggestions and links are spot-on.

          Not a restaurant, but there is a new gluten free shop: G-Free NYC on 77A West 77th St. (on upper west side off Columbus Avenue). I can't vouch for it, but it might have something you can't get elsewhere. Good luck.

          G-Free NYC
          77 W 85th St, New York, NY 10024

        3. This board is only for food, drink, dining. You'll have too look elsewhere to plan your trip, i.e. hotel and tourism.

          You could search for 'gluten' in the box to the right. It might bring up some options; I recall a few links in the past.

          1 Reply
          1. re: thegforceny

            Thanks for taking the time to post a snitty reply. If you had read my post carefully you would have seen that all of the questions ( even those which mention hotels or touristy areas ) are about food, or the likely attitude of those serving or preparing the food. Last time I was in New York people did still eat in hotels and touristy areas. Perhaps that has changed.

            Thanks for the gluten tip, though. Most informative.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Hi Williwan-
              I just spent a month in NYC, and I can tell you that I ate very well on gluten-free food. The best experience, and the one I would suggest for the birthday dinner, is Maialino (another Danny M resto). Warm and friendly, not hip but not dowdy, really excellent and knowledgeable service. Your father will not be made to feel like a second-class citizen. They happily sub a good quality corn pasta for the usual in most of the pasta dishes (notify them when you book).

              Cider: we were impressed with the range of local and regional ciders in the shops, but we aren't big bar people so I have no places to suggest.

              Burgers: Shake Shack has a GF menu on the website-- burger is served on lettuce.

              GF menus: I was really thrilled with the range of places that accommodated GF-- didn't get to try them all, sadly. Some of the ones we did try:
              Nizza (French-Italian, entire GF menu along with the regular, iffy service but pretty good food; I think they do brunch);
              Friedman's Lunch (in Chelsea Market... great place for a quick bite; have heard varying reviews but we were delighted with it; breakfast too)
              Rosa Mexicano (small chain; we went to the one by the Lincoln Centre)-- lots of GF options, good service, happening (and loud) room.
              Maoz Falafel (chain; Union Square is good for a lunch in the park); their falafel is GF (nothing else in the fryer), and they have a salad bar with lots of choice (although possibility of cross-contamination exists).
              Grom Gelato lists all allergens on its menu, and they are mostly GF.
              Risotteria: I have been there on previous visits and while I appreciated the entirely GF menu, their risotto wasn't the best I have had.

              We went out of our way to go to a place in Chinatown that promised GF dim sum (Nom Wah Tea Parlor) but it was a disaster: things marked gluten-free were not (regular soy sauce was in some of them, and others were made with wheat dumplings) and the cavalier server did not instill confidence in me. Avoid.

              Enjoy your holiday...

              Shake Shack
              Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

              Rosa Mexicano
              61 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023

              630 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10036

              Nom Wah Tea Parlor
              13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

              38 Union Sq E, New York, NY 10003

              270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              Friedman's Lunch
              75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010