Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Going Gluten Free at Sel de la Terre

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to check out Sel de la Terre, one of our favorite places to eat. We love the one on the Waterfront and on Boylston St. in Boston, but there is one in Natick too, so we decided to see what they could do for me and my celiac disease.

First off, despite the fact that this place is in the Natick Collection, this is not your typical mall eatery. Entrees are 25+ and it's definitely more high-end than what you might find at say, California Pizza Kitchen. Our server fully understood gluten and celiac disease, thankfully, and guided me through the menu. There were obvious things I couldn't have, like flatbreads, but he also warned me about the short ribs being dusted in flour. It was nice to know that he was on top of things and that I didn't have to worry about whether or not he knew his stuff well enough for me to trust him.

We ordered the moules (or mussels) in a white wine, capers, and tomato broth. The crostini came on the side as to avoid cross contamination, which I appreciated. The portion was very small, but the mussels were perfectly cooked and the broth was good enough to drink. Which I did.

For entrees, my husband got the pan seared bass on red quinoa salad with braised endive and orange fennel reduction. The bass, however, was dusted in flour, so I couldn't try it. But I ordered the bunless burger, with FRIES!! Sel de la Terre is well-known in the city for its fresh rosemary pomme frites, often deemed the best fries in the city. The server assured me that the fries were completely gluten free, and not contaminated by any gluten sources in the frying oil. I could have kissed him! I miss fries so much, and these are some of my favorite. The burger, smeared with sweet caramelized onions and a hunk of what I think was Gruyere, was perfectly cooked and the quality of the meat was fantastic.

They even had gluten free dessert options! There was the seasonal and always reliable sorbet selection (this night's was pear, guava, and Concord grape), and creme brulee, but they also offered a poached pear with a star anise sabayon. I wasn't feeling the sabayon, so I went boring and had the sorbet, which was delicious. My husband had the apple cran polenta crumble, which smelled amazing. He said it was delicious, and essentially licked the plate clean.

Sel de la Terre didn't exactly blow my expectations away (after all, at those prices, they'd better be able to accommodate someone with celiac disease), but I was still pleased with the meal overall. Though the appetizer portion was small (especially for a $13 plate), it was tasty, and the staff took extra care to make me feel safe. It was an expensive meal, but I'm happy to pay a little more for peace of mind when I go out to eat.

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