Hold the Wheat

Going gluten-free means saying goodbye to rye, barley, wheat, pasta, bread, beer or anything else with flour. Sounds limiting to us, but the dietary restriction for those with celiac disease, or an intolerance to gluten, has blossomed into the 2010 version of the South Beach Diet for those looking to cut carbs. Restaurants such as Grotto Wine Bar are following the trend with its pan-seared scallops topped with sliced nectarines and coulis. The dish would normally be dusted in flour before being seared, but chef Leah Malec subs olive oil instead. “People follow a lot of fads. It’s like a wave that comes,” says Malec, noting chefs need to be willing to change with diners’ tastes. She’s certainly done that. Half the dishes on Grotto’s menu are made gluten-free. All you have to do is ask. 13101 Shaker Square, Cleveland, 216-751-9463, grottoshakersquare.com  

A few other spots to dine gluten-free:

Bistro 185

Trendy East 185th Street gem Bistro 185 picked up on gluten-free and vegan dining four years ago when it opened. Since then, owner Ruth Levine has perfected her seasonal menus to include a colorful halibut, which quickly became a fan favorite. The halibut ($26.50), cooked in olive oil for gluten-free guests, is engulfed in a massaman curry sauce with baby bok choy. The filet itself is garnished with tropical fruits such as fresh mango, papaya, and pineapple, and tossed with a bit of jalapeno pepper and limejuice, which adds a tasteful twist. The gluten-free trend comes from people’s increased understanding of what’s in their food, says Levine, who also hosts a gluten-free evening once a month to highlight the items on her seasonal menus. There’s no indication on the menu that halibut, or other wheat-free foods, are gluten-free, but Levine says it’s on purpose. “You want to attract the customer who isn’t gluten-free to the item.” 991 East 185th St., Cleveland. 216-481-9635, bistro185.com

Creekside Restaurant & Bar

John Juratovac, chef at Creekside, raves about his 8-ounce grilled salmon ($10.95), basted with a whiskey citrus peppercorn sauce he swears is comparable to a smooth teriyaki. The filet is completed with broccoli and rice pilaf on the side, but can be substituted for other fresh vegetables. When it comes to serving gluten-free dishes, Juratovac stays flexible on substituting items on the menu, such as in the Louisiana shrimp and scallop salad that normally comes with croutons and crisp onion rings, based on customers’ health needs. “More than ever, a lot of other allergies come up and you have to look at your ingredients,” he says, adding he plans to include more gluten-free items next time there’s a menu change. “We’re very flexible.” 8803 Brecksville Road, Cleveland, 440-546-0555, creeksiderestaurant.com


Traditional pastas may be off limits to those with celiac and other gluten-free diners, but Moxie’s risotto — a carnaroli rice with salted, aged and pressed sheep’s milk cheese tossed in with Killbuck Valley mushrooms — is one dish on which all can depend to satisfy ($10.50). But chef Anthony Hamilton doesn’t sugar coat it: the rice still contains trace amounts of wheat, but so minimal most with celiac aren’t affected. The restaurant has also just completed an a la carte menu with smaller, singular offerings so diners can now pick and choose what they want without having to substitute items. It’s an all-inclusive nod, says Hamilton. “People are more aware, in general, of celiac disease,” he says, adding that the restaurant is also targeting a younger, health conscious crowd. 3355 Richmond Road, Beachwood. 216-831-5599, moxietherestaurant.com


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