Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Eating Out Gluten Free: River Grille in Sebastian, FL

After an extremely stressful long weekend of moving last week, I decided to surprise Hubs with a little treat as a way to celebrate finally getting settled in Sebastian.  I booked us a couple of massages, then followed it up with dinner reservations at a highly-recommended restaurant right by our new house, River Grille.  Pretty much everyone we talked to from the area said we had to go there, so I decided it would be perfect for our celebration

Everyone was right!  We had a wonderful meal.  I didn't know much about their gluten-free friendliness going in, but normally in my experience nice restaurants are always great about accommodating my needs.  Little did I know that they were ahead of the game compared to a lot of the other restaurants that I've found around here - the menu was clearly labeled with gluten-free options (and there were lots of them), and our server was extremely knowledgeable.  They even had little extras like gluten-free crackers to serve me instead of a bread basket!  

It was really difficult to choose what we wanted to eat as everything looked so good, but we were both really in the mood for seafood so we started with the chipotle grilled shrimp skewers.

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Such a pretty presentation, and so tasty!  Perfectly grilled, with just a tiny bit of heat, and the fruit salsa on top was perfect.

Next, I chose with the crab-stuffed salmon for my entree - normally I avoid anything "stuffed" due to the inevitable addition of breadcrumb filler, but I was assured that it was perfectly safe and all lump crab.  For the sides I went with the spinach soufflé, already gluten free with no modification needed, and the honey-glazed carrots.  I was trying to be healthy by getting the carrots, and they were good, but after seeing the twice-baked potato on Hubs' plate I immediately wished I had opted for that instead!  The spinach soufflé was fantastic as well, and went great with the fish.

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One of the most special parts about our meal was pure luck - the executive chef, Michele Hennessey, who is actually pretty famous in these parts for winning several local Top Chef competitions, just happened to sit down at the table next to ours to enjoy her own dinner with friends after she finished up in the kitchen.  It was really fun hearing her talk about the wine and food on her menu, and she was friendly enough to draw us into the conversation - it was nice to talk directly to a chef about being gluten free, especially when she was clearly interested in accommodating her gluten-free guests and even requested my opinions on products that I enjoy.  Bonus - she even treated us to a complimentary dessert of delicious crème brulee and port wine!  Hubs dug in before I got a chance to snap a pic, but it was an incredible way to top off the meal.

Now here's the sad part - this amazing, gluten-free friendly restaurant that is less than five minutes from our new house is closing in just a few short weeks!!  It's for a good cause at least - Chef Michele wants to spend more time with her family.  However her husband plans to turn the restaurant into an Italian place this fall, which I was told has plans to be GF friendly as well, so I can at least hope for GF pizza or pasta close by in the near future - which would be fantastic, as currently the only option in within a half hour of me is Domino's!

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