Over the holiday season, Hubs and I took a trip up to New York to visit his family. Normally we go straight out to Fire Island to their house, but this time around we ended up spending a night in New York City. After we arrived, he asked if there was anywhere around that I could eat, so I pulled out my trusty Find Me Gluten Free app for a quick search. I quickly zeroed in on a fantastic restaurant I'd seen posted on Instagram just a couple weeks before, Lilli & Loo, that happened to be only a couple blocks from our hotel!
Lilli & Loo is a Chinese restaurant on Lexington in the Upper East Side. The website showed a huge GF menu and it was very highly reviewed on the app, so I was very excited when both Hubs and my mother-in-law were game for checking it out. We were all pleasantly surprised to step in out of the freezing cold to a warm, welcoming restaurant with beautiful decor and a lovely jazz duo playing in the corner. We were seated quickly, and I accepted my multi-page GF menu with delight.
My mother-in-law and Hubs are not GF, but they kindly let me order everything off the GF menu so that I could share it all with them - otherwise who knows how hard it would have been for me to decide! I ended up opting for a lot of fried food, simply because I haven't had crispy fried Asian anything in 3 years, aside from some attempts in my home kitchen.
We started with the fried spring rolls, which came with a sweet dipping sauce.
These were really good, although I will say it wasn't the feather-light crispy spring roll skin I remember from my gluten days, more like an eggroll thickness. The filling was awesome though, and they were quickly devoured.
Next up, the main courses! We chose the General Tso's chicken, the crispy sesame shrimp, and the pomegranate chicken (not pictured - I was too enamored with the fried stuff)
Sesame Shrimp General Tso’s Chicken
These were the real stars of the meal! Perfectly crispy, not too heavy, and the sauces were just delightful. The General Tso's was not as spicy as I had initially believed it would be, and that one ended up being my favorite, although the sesame shrimp came in a very close second - only thing I thought was strange about it was that they left the tails on, so they were a little awkward to eat. But still very tasty! The pomegranate chicken had nice flavor and was clearly the healthiest dish on the table as it was not battered or fried, but it was something I could probably have made fairly easily at home.
All in all, it was a fantastic meal – special thanks to my MIL for treating us! It made me wish that we had places like this down here in Florida. If you ever find yourself trying to eat gluten free in the Upper East Side in NYC, this place cannot be missed.