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Cheap Gluten Free Eats- What's not to be missed?!

c
Carbear99 Nov 1, 2011 01:01 PM

My Husband and I are gluten free Foodies in search of great cheap eats in NYC.

This is our first visit, we are from Northern California, and we are staying near Penn Station, but are willing to travel where we need to for great gluten free cheap eats! We are pretty adventurous eaters and are open to all types of cuisine, street food, etc. What's not to be missed?!!

Thanks for your help!

  1. p
    praisethelard Jan 6, 2014 11:20 AM

    Hey fellow GFer-Foodie-person!

    When I visit the city, I love Rice to Riches (a rice pudding shop where a lot of the flavors are GF), Risotteria, and Nirvana (an upscale Indian place in Midtown, but you can find way more authentic Indian food in Jackson Heights). Babycakes doesn't do much for me, but the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (and Truck) do have awesome gluten free ice cream options (and sometimes they even have GF cones!). I love pho and haven't ever gotten sick from eating it no matter where I go, so just be smart and you'll probably be okay. For pure "WTF" value, there's apparently a place in Brooklyn specializing in porridge, and yes, they have GF versions. Brooklyn Porridge Company, it's called. You have your pick of GF oats, grits, or aramath, and you can add either savory or sweet things to your bowl. It's also only around until March, so go now. :)

    1. c
      Carbear99 Nov 5, 2011 04:00 PM

      To be a little more specific:
      1). Definitely looking for places that we can have some sort of meat or eggs with every meal.
      2). Very interested in checking out the amazing Ethnic Food NYC has to offer. We are very limited when it comes to variety where we live. Definitely want to check out GF Indian Food, but we are open to pretty much any other Ethnic Food the City has to offer, we are just looking for great eats and are not super picky!
      3). Does anyone know if eating Gluten-Free at any of David Chang's restaurants is a possibility? Do they do any rice or other GF noodles and can soy sauce be avoided if GF Soy Sauce is not available?
      4). Classic NYC Deli, with GF options
      5). Classic NYC Hot Dog, also GF
      6). GF Donuts/Bakery~ Babycakes? Thoughts please!
      7). GF Pizza
      8). GF Pho

      Are there any other "classic" NYC eats that should not be missed?

      Thanks for your help!

      -----
      Babycakes
      248 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

      11 Replies
      1. re: Carbear99
        m
        michelleats Nov 5, 2011 10:22 PM

        Momofuku Ko is the only Chang restaurant that I know for certain will take special measures for gluten free diners, but it doesn't fall in your cheap eats category. It is a wonderful restaurant if you are able to go. It's worth a call to ask about the other Momofuku restaurants. There are probably a few dishes on each menu that are naturally gluten free, even w/o substitutions (raw bar, perhaps country ham offerings at Ssam Bar).

        AFAIK, none of the well known classic NYC delis offer gluten free sandwiches, though I'm sure you could order a pastrami "sandwich" without the bread and eat it with a latke. Friedman's Lunch in CHelsea Market , which Sinjawns suggested, does offer pastrami sandwiches made with GF bread. I haven't personally tried their pastrami, though, so I can't tell you how it compares to the hallowed pastrami institutions in the city.

        I'm guessing a burger or hot dog w/o a bun isn't exactly what you're looking for, but if you are, Shake Shack (another NYC institution of sorts) does offer them, as well as GF fries and "concrete" shakes: http://shakeshack.com/mobile/menu/glu...

        Hopefully someone more knowledgable about GF dining will be able to answer some of your other questions.

        ---

        ETA:

        FYI, Menupages.com allows you to search for "gluten free options" under "features". You have to pick a geographic region or cuisine preference, first, to access that pull-down features menu.

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

        Momofuku Ko
        163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

        1. re: michelleats
          c
          Carbear99 Nov 6, 2011 03:15 PM

          Thanks for the tips! I know David Chang's restaurants are not cheap eats, and that Cheap Eats is the title of my post, but I'd like to hit at least one of his places while in NYC! I don't mind having to do a Burger, Hot Dog, or Sandwich without a bun, if it is still awesome, a lot of times the GF buns completely fall apart, so thanks for those ideas as well!

        2. re: Carbear99
          c
          carfreeinla Nov 6, 2011 02:20 PM

          How adventurous are you? Some great ethnic in the outer boros- Jackson Hts, Sunset Park etc. And yes, less expensive. If you have transport, we love Dosa Garden on Staten Island.
          I am very sensitive and I go to Katz's deli. I ask them to use clean gloves and cut on wax paper. I have never had a problem.
          I would go to Shake Shake for a hot dog. Don't get a shake as they use the same machines as the malteds.
          Sorry, not a BabyCakes fan. Tu- lus for sure.
          Risotteria is still my favorite for pizza. I haven't tried all of the new places but the one on 4th an 12th and Mozzerelli's are just ok...
          IMHO, take another approach- search this board for what you want to eat and then find out how GF receptive they are!

          -----
          Risotteria
          270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: carfreeinla
            c
            Carbear99 Nov 6, 2011 03:19 PM

            I would consider us very adventurous! My Husband has eaten a lot of things in different parts of China, we are up for Offal, etc. We are pretty much up for trying anything, so please let me know your suggestions! We will not have a car, but are willing to take Public Transit...
            Also, thanks for the search tips!

            1. re: Carbear99
              c
              carfreeinla Nov 8, 2011 05:19 PM

              Have a look on the outer boros board. I go to many of the Mexican restaurants mentioned in Jackson Hts and Sunset Park and most are accessible by train. For a really fun and mostly gf time, read about the soccer fields in RedHook. You will never feel gluten envy while eating a papusa stuffed with cheese!!!
              I happen to like S'Mac. The first time that I went, I ordered simply plain mac and cheese- it was a memorable moment.

              -----
              S'Mac
              345 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            2. re: carfreeinla
              c
              Cate Nov 6, 2011 04:09 PM

              The breadsticks at Risotteria are also gluten-free and really, really good. I'm not gluten intolerant, but most of my family has celiac so I'm pretty well versed with the gluten free options. Also agree on Tu-lus.
              Carfreeinla- can I get some advice on Dosa Garden? The menu looks great, and I'd love to take my mother there sometime, but she's extremely cautious with "ethnic" food where she isn't familiar with the ingredients and how everything is made, and can't always communicate with the staff as clearly as she would like. If you don't mind sharing, what are their strong (and safe) gluten-free options?

              -----
              Risotteria
              270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: Cate
                c
                carfreeinla Nov 8, 2011 05:22 PM

                Sorry, thought I posted an answer to this.. I have eaten almost everything on the menu! The only GF item that i don't like is the vindaloo- I don't like the sour quality of the spices. Just ask/confirm that what you are ordering is made with rice/lentil/besan/chickpea flour only. We have been going since they first opened and I have never had a problem. Obviously stay away from the naan.

                1. re: Cate
                  w
                  whitneybee Nov 9, 2011 05:07 AM

                  Seconding the Risotteria and Tu-Lu's recs. All of my gluten-eating friends and family rave about Risotteria whenever we go (and they'll often suggest we go there) and I find Tu-Lu's to be much better than Babycakes for cupcakes, although I quite like the Babycakes doughnuts.

                  -----
                  Babycakes
                  248 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

                  Risotteria
                  270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Tu-Lu's
                  338 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

                2. re: carfreeinla
                  m
                  michelleats Nov 6, 2011 04:11 PM

                  "IMHO, take another approach- search this board for what you want to eat and then find out how GF receptive they are!"

                  Good idea, carfreeinla. I like this approach.

                  Re: Risotteria, Carbear99, this seems to be a favorite place for gluten intolerant visitors, since they are very conscious and careful about keeping the food gluten free. I haven't been there in years, but the last time I tried it, the risotto was mushy and the pizza crust teeth-crackingly hard. But it may've changed a great deal since then. Certainly, it got a lot of love on this recent-ish GF dining thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774259 !

                  I've heard Pala Pizza has a LOT of gluten free options, but I've never eaten there. Maybe carfreeinla can speak to whether it's delicious. http://www.pala-ny.com/

                  BabyCakes is very... healthy. I actually like their very moist brownie bites, which I think might be vegan as well as gluten free, but I can see how their baked goods may not be to everyone's taste.

                  Carbear, great to hear you have such a diverse palate! (It brings joy to many a Chowhound heart.) I once had an email exchange with someone at X'ian Famous Foods (locations in Manhattan) about which menu items were safe for gluten free diners, there. They said the lamb face salad, lamb leg salad, tiger vegetables salad, chang-an spicy tofu and savory cumin lamb plate were safe options, but in your shoes, I would contact them again to ask about the soy sauce issue. They add a "house sauce" to a lot of things, which I would ask about, too. I think some of the soups could be gluten free, in theory (they include rice noodles, not wheat), but in terms of deliciousness, I have personally not had good luck with soup orders from the St. Mark's Place location in a while. (They've been very bland and watered down.) If you like spicy food, order everything at least medium and preferably at full blast. The hot oil sauce imparts a lot of flavor to the food.

                  Mario Batali restaurants now how an official policy of offering gluten free dining options, including gluten free pastas. Otto is not too spendy (at least not by Manhattan standards) and might be something you enjoy.

                  If you want to self cater at any point, Trader Joe's in Chelsea, not far from where you're staying, has quite a good selection of gluten free foods, including Udi's bread and Food for Life bread.

                  S'Mac offers gluten free mac & cheese in numerous variations. I am not personally a huge fan -- to me, gluten free Italian pasta always tastes funny and is usually overly mushy -- but I've heard a lot of people rave about it. If you love mac & cheese, it may be to your tastes.

                  Do a search for "gluten free" or "coeliac" on the Manhattan board, by the way. There are a lot of previous threads that might be helpful to you.

                  Good luck and happy eats!

                  -----
                  Pala
                  198 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

                  S'Mac
                  345 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                  Risotteria
                  270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Trader Joe's
                  142 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

                3. re: Carbear99
                  Miss Needle Nov 9, 2011 06:12 PM

                  Cafe Viva in the East Village and UWS does gluten-free pizza (note: you'll have to order an entire pie; no slices).

                  And pho is generally gluten-free as they typically use fish sauce as opposed to soy sauce.

                  -----
                  Cafe Viva
                  2578 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

                  Viva Herbal
                  179 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: Miss Needle
                    c
                    carfreeinla Nov 9, 2011 08:50 PM

                    I always ask for my thai food sans fish sauce. I remember finding a brand that listed soy sauce as an ingredient. That may have been the exception, but I am not willing to take chances.
                    Re Risotteria- I am not a fan of the risotto as well.
                    Another great place is Caracas Arepas... I seem to remember something on the menu that wasn't gf- but almost all of it is...

                    -----
                    Caracas Arepa Bar
                    93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                    Risotteria
                    270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                4. m
                  michelleats Nov 2, 2011 09:04 PM

                  Thanks for getting this conversation started, sinjawns.

                  I like Thiru's dosa cart, but if you're able to sit down for a meal, the food in Little India (east 20s around Lexington Ave.) is much better. I keep wavering between Saravanaa's and Tiffin Wallah as my go-to places. I'm currently feeling a bit more favorable towards Saravanaa's. Tiffin Wallah's vada tends to be a bit greasier and they add more spices. Saravanaa's vada are just as light and fluffy these days. I've also found Saravanaa's masala dosa filling and sambar to be a bit more complex and better made on my last few visits at dinner time.

                  Be aware that Empellon now serves its tacos on flour tortillas instead of corn. If you're very sensitive to gluten, I'd be careful of cross contamination and the presence of hidden wheat (i.e. in the beer braised tongue).

                  I really like the food at El Cocotero, where they have all masa (corn) based arepas, empanadas and "sandwiches" made out of fried green plantains. But if you're very sensitive, again, please call ahead and ask about possible problem ingredients or cross contamination.

                  Friedman's does advertise its gluten free sandwiches and other foods. The food is fair, but not great IMO.

                  There are a good number of gluten free bakeries in NYC these days, including TuLu's and Babycakes.

                  I don't know if the risk of cross contamination is too great for you to try macarons from a bakery that also handles wheat flour-based goods, but there are a number of great places for them in NYC, including La Maison du Macaron (close to where you're staying) and Maison Laduree (far from where you're staying).

                  Keste, a good place for Neapolitan style pizza, makes gluten free pizzas on Mondays and Tuesdays, I believe. I know there are a few other gluten free pizza places in town that have been mentioned on this board, which you should be able to find if you do a search. (Our location of Z Pizza, a West Coast-based chain, is no longer open, sadly.)

                  If falafel is safe, Taim (truck and brick & mortar locations) has good falafel platters.

                  If you narrow down your request to specific cuisines at a time, you might have better luck with responses. Your question is pretty broad! (Also, it helps to get a sense of how sensitive you are. Are you so sensitive that, say, eating fries cooked in the same oil as a breaded chicken nugget would cause a reaction? Does soy sauce with trace amounts of wheat?)

                  -----
                  Babycakes
                  248 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

                  Saravanaas
                  81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                  Taim
                  222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

                  Tiffin Wallah
                  127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

                  La Maison du Macaron
                  132 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

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

                  El Cocotero
                  228 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                  Keste Pizza & Vino
                  271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Tu-Lu's
                  338 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

                  Empellon Taqueria
                  230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                  Laduree
                  864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: michelleats
                    c
                    Carbear99 Nov 2, 2011 09:50 PM

                    Thanks so much for all the great ideas! Cross contamination is not too big of a problem for us, we are pretty gluten intolerant but not Celiac. We definitely avoid all foods that may contain wheat; soy sauce, beer, etc...

                  2. sinjawns Nov 2, 2011 05:30 PM

                    Some ideas... nothing earth-shattering, but cheap, cheerful and GF
                    -The Dosa cart guy on the south side of Washington Square
                    - Maoz falafel (union square and elsewhere)
                    - Grom gelato
                    - Friedman's lunch, Chelsea market
                    - Empellon, Tacos etc
                    - Bogota bistro, park slope, brooklyn (arepas, corn empanadas etc)

                    -----
                    Maoz
                    38 Union Sq E, New York, NY 10003

                    New York Dosas
                    Washington Sq S and Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

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

                    Grom
                    233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    Empellon Taqueria
                    230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

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