After I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004, I started eating a lot of omelettes. I wasnâ€™t on an Atkins diet, but eggs seemed like a safe bet. It turned out that this wasnâ€™t always true. Some restaurants use a pre-mixed egg replacement product instead of real eggs, and that can contain starch. Some add pancake batter to eggs, but donâ€™t mention this fact on the menu. Not all omelette ingredients are safe: for example, the ham in a basic ham-and-cheese omelette might be more wheat than meat. And of course, thereâ€™s always a risk of cross-contamination.
I was grateful when a friend introduced me to Petersâ€™ Gourmet Diner/Restaurant. She doesnâ€™t have celiac disease, but she lives near the diner and had already discovered it as a great brunch spot on New Yorkâ€™s Upper East Side. Petersâ€™ (yes, the apostrophe is in the right place â€” the restaurant walls are covered with photographs of famous Peters, from Peter Parker to Peter Sellers) is a member of the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program, working in cooperation with the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group. The menu is laden with low-fat and low-calorie options, which I pretty much ignore (I mention them because I know others aren’t as careless as I am about this). Iâ€™m only interested in the many gluten-free options, which include great omelettes (served with a side of rice bread), Eggs Benedict, pancakes, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes. There are also “Blue Plate Specials,” which include chicken marsala and London broil with mushroom gravy. Iâ€™ve visited a dozen times for lunch or brunch and have always been impressed.
Another Manhattan member of the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program is Bloomâ€™s Delicatessen CafÃ©. Located two blocks south of Grand Central Station, itâ€™s got a great location and a short list of gluten-free options. The menu is a mix of deli and diner â€” think smoked fish, omelettes, and steaks, plus burgers with gluten-free buns and French fries cooked in a dedicated gluten-free fryer. While I’m more partial to the food at Petersâ€™, I appreciate Bloom’s central location and its commitment to celiac awareness.
Petersâ€™ Gourmet Diner/Restaurant [address] 1606 First Avenue (between 83rd & 84th sts.), New York, NY [tel] 212-734-9600 [web] www.petersrestaurant.com
Bloomâ€™s Delicatessen CafÃ© [address] 350 Lexington Avenue (at the corner of 40th Street), New York, NY [tel] 212-922-3663 [web] www.bloomsnewyorkdeli.com