Friday, April 23, 2010

Restaurant Review: Anthony's Restaurants in the Pacific Northwest - Now Offering Gluten Free Menus!

As I have shared with you in the past, just about nothing makes me happier than finding new restaurants offering gluten free menus, where my daughter with Celiac Disease can enjoy safe and delicious meals. I was thrilled when Anthony's Restaurants recently contacted me to share their exciting gluten free news; here is what they shared with me:

"Currently 150,000 Americans are struggling with Celiac disease— rendering them unable to eat restaurant items containing gluten; the protein found in wheat, barley and rye (as well as often-debated oats). Compounding that, as many as 1 million Americans are gluten intolerant. This rapidly growing disease has prompted a gluten-free menu revolution across the nation. Anthony’s has made an effort to be at the forefront of these changes, implementing new, gluten-free menus in addition to its current menus across all 19 of its restaurant locations."

Anthony's Restaurants are eager to share the wonderful news about their new gluten free menus with as many people as possible, and asked if my family and I would be their guests so I could share my feedback with all of you. I have much to share about my family's gluten free dining experience at Anthony's, but first, here is some background on Anthony's Restaurants:

"Anthony’s Restaurants, with more than 2,000 team members, owns and operates a family of 19 privately held restaurants throughout the Pacific Northwest. From classic 'to-go' eateries to casual dining and relaxed dinner houses, Anthony’s core commitment to fresh Northwest seafood, complemented by local produce, Northwest wines and microbrews, is the foundation for each restaurant.

To ensure Anthony’s commitment to purchasing only the highest quality fresh seafood, Anthony’s opened its own seafood company in 1985, located at Pier 91, Seattle. Anthony’s is proud of its continuing commitment to quality and value, which has made it the place for fresh Northwest seafood throughout the Pacific Northwest."

My Personal Anthony's Gluten Free Experience:

Last weekend my family had the pleasure of sampling the new gluten free menu at Anthony's HomePort in Kirkland Washington; it is located on the Eastern shores of Lake Washington and boasts stunning views of Hunts Point, Sand Point, and the Seattle skyline. We were seated at a table with a waterfront view that was absolutely breath taking! It was so relaxing watching the setting sun glisten on Lake Washington as we dined... what a delight!

Because all of Anthony's seafood is fresh, new gluten free menus are printed each day to reflect that day's offerings. My husband and I were impressed with the lovely selection of starters, entrees, and desserts available on Anthony's new gluten free menu; it is obvious that they took their time in deciding what types of dishes would appeal to a wide variety of gluten free diners.

We choose to start with the Dungeness Crab Cocktail; which was fresh and sweet, just as crab should be. My daughters devoured the Crab Cocktail... and my husband and I felt lucky to each get a few bites! I don't think my 7 year old had ever tasted crab prior to that moment; she has now added it to her favorite foods list which makes me very happy.

Anthony's is well known for its ultra-fresh local Oysters. After mentioning that I had never been brave enough to try an Oyster on the Half Shell our friendly server Kyle Ross offered to bring me a Pacific Penn Cove Select Oyster on the Half Shell, caught fresh that very day in Samish Bay Washington. Dining Room Manager Jennifer Johnson suggested that I follow my Oyster on the Half Shell with a swallow of Champagne. Feeling a burst of bravery, I "slurped" the Oyster from its shell and chased it with a swallow of champagne as Jennifer recommended. Although I still can't say that I am an oyster fan, I could definitely tell that my Oyster was super fresh. I am certain that Oyster lovers will appreciate Anthony's impressive selection of fresh, local, Oysters on the Half Shell.

The Gluten Free Entrees My Family Sampled at Anthony's HomePort in Kirkland Washington:

All of the gluten free dishes my family tried at Anthony's were extremely delicious and of the highest quality.

I was treated to buttery, melt in your mouth Lobster Tail. I have had lobster many times in my life, but I never remember it tasting this good! It was perfectly cooked and absolutely divine.

My son ordered the Roasted Garlic Prawns, which were butterflied and roasted with garlic butter, fresh lemon, and sprinkled with gremolata. I have never seen this boy eat so fast in my life... by the time I took the first bite of my entree, my son had already eaten half of his Roasted Garlic Prawns! He said that his prawns "rocked." I snuck a little bite of his prawns, and he was right, they did rock!

My tween-age daughter had the Fresh Wild Chinook Salmon, which was oven roasted and finished with Sundried Tomato Basil Butter. Yes... it was as fabulous as it sounds! My daughter loved it, and after trying a bite my husband and I both agreed that it was the freshest salmon that either of us have ever tasted, hands down.

My youngest daughter with Celiac Disease feasted on the Double R Ranch Signature Top Sirloin Steak which was hand-cut and pan seared until it was perfectly medium rare, just as she ordered it. After trying her first bite, she proclaimed that Anthony's was now her favorite restaurant, and asked if we could eat there again soon. Of course we said yes, because both the gluten free food and the service at Anthony's was top-notch.

All of our entrees were served with savory mashed potatoes and fresh steamed vegetables, as well as our choice of a chilled Oregon Bay shrimp cocktail or a delightful spinach salad with bacon, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese tossed in a fantastic dill vinaigrette. Some of us ordered the spinach salad, and others shrimp cocktail, so we could share with one another. As with the gluten free entrees, the accompanying gluten free dishes were delicious and fresh.

After our meal we enjoyed a choice of either a fresh seasonal strawberry-rhubarb sorbet, or Anthony's Burnt Cream (aka Creme Brulee). These desserts were not too heavy, were expertly prepared, and acted as the perfect ending to the perfect meal.

About Anthony's Gluten Free Safe Practices:

"In preparation for implementation of Anthony’s Restaurants Gluten Free menus, a team meeting was held at each restaurant to go over the following information and procedures. The restaurant managers and regional chefs trained the front of the house and the kitchen teams.

Anthony’s Gluten Free menus items were specially selected with Nutritionist, Beverly Utt of Simply Nutrition, and are created using gluten free ingredients. Ingredients were confirmed gluten free through our purveyors and manufacturers and to the best of our knowledge are deemed gluten free.

Anthony’s kitchen teams have been trained to treat a gluten meal as any other severe allergy. They have been trained to change gloves, use new pans and bowls and use extreme caution when handling a gluten free meal. With the availability of gluten free menus we are able to assist the changing needs of our guests."

The Bottom Line:

The gluten free community can feel confident that when dining at any of Anthony's Restaurants 19 Pacific Northwest locations they will enjoy fresh, delicious, food that is gluten free and Celiac-safe.

Gluten Free Taste of Home commends Anthony's Restaurants for making the needs of the gluten free community a priority, and for doing it so deliciously.

Special thanks to Anthony's HomePort in Kirkland Washington, in particular Dining Room Manager Jennifer Johnson and our server Kyle Ross, for providing my family with a lovely and memorable gluten free dining experience.

Click here to find the Anthony's Restaurant nearest you in the Pacific Northwest.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was not compensated for this review; I received a complimentary gluten free menu sampling for review purposes courtesy of Anthony's Restaurants. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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