For the first post of this blog, I figured I'd jump right in with some of the best gluten free restaurant food I've ever eaten. Stillwater Restaurant and Wine Bar is in Downers Grove Illinois, and I'd totally recommend it! I have eaten there twice and have had fantastic experiences both times.
Last night was a gorgeous summer night, and the meal my two other food compatriots and I ate was fantastic. One, Barb, is also gluten free, but Mark is of the glutenous kind.
Opening the menu, I was astounded and excited to see this greeting me on the third page:
How amazing is that? We need to see more of this in restaurants!
Our server was very quick to approach our table and take our drink order. Barb ordered a wine from the extensive wine list. The server was incredibly courteous and friendly throughout the whole meal-A+. He was also very knowledgable about the menu and a gluten free diet.
When he heard that Barb and I are gf, the server went to the kitchen to put in an order for a(fresh baked!) gluten free bread basket in addition to the glutenous one served to Mark. Less than 10 minutes later, we were chowing into some warm, delicious gluten free bread.
It was very yum with the (raspberry I think) flavored butter it was served with. The server told us that it was actually Kinnikinnick pizza bread that had been cut into slices. It was warm, soft and slightly sweet-a perfect start to the meal.
Our entrees came with soup. I ordered cream of mushroom soup and Barb ordered tomato marinara with feta cheese.
The cream of mushroom soup was great! It had pieces of prime rib cooked in it along with various vegetables, and was warm and creamy.
The tomato marinara was alright, but a bit too tangy for our tastes. It was definitely marinara-it was like eating very chunky tomato sauce, and I didn't see any feta.
The entrees were next, and talk about a hard act to follow. I ordered prawn satay with grilled vegetables and a baked potato (my other options were mashed potatoes or rice). The initial presentation of my meal was beautiful, and the taste was outstanding. The prawns were cooked in a buttery lemony sauce that was absolutely decadent-I could feel my arteries closing, but it was so delicious that I'm willing to die two or three minutes earlier than if I hadn't eaten it. The shrimp were huge and cooked to perfection, slightly sweet and very tender. The veggies and the potato weren't anything special, but they were still good.
Barb ordered an avocado stuffed with crab. This meal looked so good! The cold crab was overflowing from the ripe avocado. The combination was delicious with a bit of salt. It was served with hollandaise sauce on the side that was a bit too spicy for Barb, but I thought it was nice.
Mark's meal was angelhair pasta, but this was not gluten free. I was interested in learning how dedicated the kitchen was, so we had a conversation with the owner/head chef, also named Mark. It turns out that his son is very allergic to wheat and has a hard time eating out, so he decided to open a restaurant with a dedicated kitchen and gluten free menu. His kitchen has a huge square footage, so he is able to dedicate entire stoves, ovens, and preparation areas to preparing gf food. We also learned that even though the page that proclaims "gluten free menu" is small, 85% of the entire menu is gluten free, the 15% being the pasta dishes. Any of the glutenous ingredients in any of the other dishes can be made with gf substitutes.
The rest of the menu included gourmet hamburgers and sandwiches (served on gf Kinnikinnick english muffins), seafood items like tilapia, a variety of steaks, several salads and some vegetarian dishes, such as a harvest vegetable platter.
We couldn't end the meal without dessert, so we ordered a gluten free chocolate cupcake to go. Other gf dessert items were a chocolate mousse torte, brownies and sorbets. The cupake was a bit dry but it was delicious when we ate it with the sweet lemon icing that came on the side.
Overall, we had a fantastic experience at Stillwater, and will definitely be going back. It's a celiac's best friend!