Monday, June 18, 2012

Gluten-Free Gluttons: Mon Ami Gabi

Whew. I am a little late on posting this one, but alas, it's been a looooong and busy couple of weeks. Mostly in a good way. But not always.

Our super-classy self-photo in the bathroom of the W.
One of the good-busy things I had going on was a magnificent trip into downtown Chicago to celebrate four years of marital bliss. Even though we live in the suburbs, only about 45 minutes from the heart of the city, we don't make it in very often, because traffic is usually a nightmare and parking typically runs about as much as a BA from a private university (and those are expensive. Trust me on this one.). We try to do at least one weekend a year where we get a nice hotel, find a great restaurant and live like tourists. We didn't do that at all last year, so I was psyched when Luke surprised me by getting a room at the W hotel for our anniversary trip ... which also happened to be the same weekend as Printers Row Lit Fest, a booksplosion my little librarian heart has been aching to attend for years. He also made us reservations for Mon Ami Gabi, a French bistro-style restaurant with a rep for being very gluten-free friendly.

After wandering around Printers Row all afternoon and skipping lunch in favor of a quick snack of Sweet Ali's banana bread, we were both famished by the time our cab got us to the restaurant on the North Side. Luke had told them we would both be gluten free when he made the reservation, so the hostess had the GF menu ready for us when we got there. They also presented us with some gluten-free bread. It came with an olive tapenade (olives are another thing I hated pre-GF that I apparently like now) and was pretty darn delicious. They toasted it up and it tasted like REAL bread.

For appetizers, we couldn't choose between duck confit and French onion soup, so we got, um, both (no judging, it was our anniversary). I have never been a huge fan of duck, but after discovering the duck tacos at Glen Prairie, I had to give confit a chance. I am glad I did. It was awesome. The skin was crispy, but the meat was soooooo buttery and delightful. I would have ordered it as an entree if I had the choice. It was hard not to lick the plate. The soup was great, too. I used to hate onions (seriously? Did I like anything besides cereal and pizza?), but I had to try the soup since I had read rave reviews. I'm still not crazy about the texture of cooked onions (or raw ones for that matter), but the sweetness of the cooked onions with the saltiness of the GF crouton and cheese just melted together so well. I only muscled down about half of it, because they practically bring you a toureen of soup, and we still had the entree to go.

Luke and I were split on entrees. We both wanted scallops. We both wanted steak. So we split the two. The scallops were served over a ratatouille, which I wanted to love, but it was only "meh." The scallops themselves were cooked perfectly, but I could not have eaten the whole plate of them. I think my limit might be two scallops. Preferably wrapped in bacon (these were not). The steak was good quality, cooked medium, but not anywhere near the best steak I've had in the city (that would be Capital Grille, hands down one hundred times). It could have been that we filled up on appetizers, but I thought the entrees were about a B+. Not that we let that stop us from eating everything.

My greatest mistake of the evening was ordering dessert. You can't go to a French restaurant and NOT order creme brulee. Especially if you are me. But I was so full ... and it was sooooo hot out. I cleaned my dessert plate and ended up paying for it later.
Creme brulee, why can't I quit you?
Despite my overindulgence, I would definitely go to Mon Ami Gabi again. They have a suburban location that is waaaaay easier for us to get to, and I probably wouldn't go for like ten courses next time, but they were incredibly accommodating for the gluten free thing. Our waiter even figured out how to adapt the specials, or if we could have certain sauces. I still think Glen Prairie is my pony for special events, but I am really glad we gave Mon Ami Gabi a shot. C'est si bonne (that's mangled French for "it is so good.")

1 comment:

  1. Hi There,

    I just stumbled across this review while searching the web. I run a Gluten Free travel website that lists reviews of great places to eat the world over. I was wondering if you might allow me to use this review on the site please? I will link back direct to the blog and subscribe for all future updates. Many thanks,

    Travel Gluten Free