For a work holiday lunch, my colleague Nancy consulted me on where to go. Her first choice, Matyson (reviewed here) was booked. With very little time to come up with a suggestion, I used UrbanSpoon to identify a couple of places within an easy walk of my job. Le Castagne is a favorite of Nancy's, so we settled on it. I read up on line, and I found a positive gf review and was reassured that I would be able to have a nice lunch, generously paid for by my boss.
Because of work schedules, we arrived fashionably early. I did my usual song and dance "I need a gluten-free dining experience" etc. They don't have a dedicated gf menu, but the server did tell me that the gnocchi could be made gluten-free. Served with marinara, it also met my vegetarian needs, so I ordered it, along with a fancy pear and greens salad, dressing on the side. One of my colleagues ordered the regular gnocchi.
The service was leisurely, which actually wasn't a good thing, since a number of us needed to return to work for afternoon meetings. Regardless, the atmosphere was nice and it was a good choice for a workplace lunch. The salad was nice in a I'm-being-served-in-a-fancy-restaurant-so-I'll-be-all-small-and-adorned-with-dressing-drizzle sort of way. Well, mine wasn't adorned because I got my dressing on the side, but the ones with dressing already on them were drizzled. Anyway, it was fresh and tasty and nothing amazing.
Our entrees arrived, and we all tucked in. After a couple of bites of the gf gnocchi, I invited the other gnocchi eater to try mine to compare. His report was that it was noticably different than his. Even before he told me the differences, I predicted that mine was mushier and a bit pasty compared to his. He verified. The sauce was fine, but nothing to rave about. It wasn't a home run by any stretch of the imagination. I must confess though that most of my Italian dining experiences (except when we were in Rome) have been generally fairly blah. This food was hands down way better than the gf pasta we get at Olive Garden, but still. I was glad the bill was being footed by my boss! For that kind of cash, I want to be wow-ed by my food.
We did order the creme brulee to split, after confirming that it was gluten-free. It was DELISH. I would definitely come here for creme brulee if the opportunity arose.
Overall, as always, I am grateful that there was a gf option entree available to me. At least it gives me something to write a review about! And, I didn't have to work too hard to get my needs accommodated. Granted, this place IS $$$ rather than $$$$ like the anonymous restaurant in Part 1 of this series, but no one at Le Castagne entered my gf status in their computer, nor did they offer me ANY gf bread, let alone four kinds. They will not remember me. Do I need them to? Not really, since they didn't impress me enough to pick them over another place the next time a co-worker needs me to pick the place for a holiday work lunch.