Food Without Fear: My Night at Senza Gluten in NYC

review of Senza Gluten in NYC

It’s true what they say. You cannot truly appreciate something until it’s taken away from you.

Back in the PC days (pre-celiac), when I went out to eat, I perused the menu and ordered whatever I felt like that night. But celiac took that freedom away. Now going out can be an exercise in fear. Even restaurants that offer gluten-free dishes can be a risk.

I went out to a restaurant in Princeton a few weeks back and after going back and forth with the manager a number of times what I could and couldn’t have, I simply ordered a plain, grilled piece of fish and some steamed asparagus. And I was still nervous. My brother even made a comment that “celiac has taken away so much of the joy of eating out for you.” You got that right!

But what if there was a restaurant that was COMPLETELY GLUTEN-FREE? And what if that restaurant offered an amazing variety of dishes? And what if that restaurant offered delicious food and top-notch service? And what if that restaurant was located in the heart of the West Village in New York City?

You’d be just a little excited, wouldn’t you?

Believe it or not, that restaurant exists and its name is Senza Gluten.

Mrs. Dude and I were meeting up with friends in New York City to help celebrate my birthday (yeah…I know…the bday that never ends.) Because of my crappy disease, our friends graciously allowed us to pick the restaurant. I had just heard about Senza Gluten from Jennifer Esposito and another fellow celiac so I made the reservation, honestly not knowing what to expect.

We were not disappointed. From the moment we walked in, I felt at home. It had a cozy atmosphere and a great vibe. And to be able to eat whatever I wanted? To share appetizers? To pick from my friends plates? Paradise. Simply paradise.

And when is the last time you were able to enjoy bread at the table?

senza gluten free bread

How about Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto? Or Grilled Swordfish? Or Lobster Tail? Or Filet Mignon? And not just plain…but with flavor! These pictures do not do the meals justice as I kept forgetting to take them before we began eating. Believe me, the presentation was tops.


And you wanna talk dessert? First, the good folks at Jennifer’s Way Bakery surprised us with a plate full of birthday yummers. 4 cupcakes put together to make a cake. A few hostess like cupcakes (oh my!) and an assortment of cookies. Many, many thanks to Jen. So thoughtful. And so delicious!!

jennifers way desserts

You’d think that would be enough food, right? Ha. How about Tiramisu, Creme Brulee and a few other treats thrown in for good measure?

I’d show you pictures of the desserts, but by this time, I had a half a bottle of wine and a brandy and let’s just say I was losing focus 🙂

My friend made a comment at the end of the meal that it must be so great for me to eat a meal out at a nice restaurant without fear.

You have no idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many, many thanks to Senza Gluten for a night, and a meal, to remember.

Just like The Terminator…I’ll be back!

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28 thoughts on “Food Without Fear: My Night at Senza Gluten in NYC”

  1. So happy to see you were able to eat out worry free! I just got to experience this too for the first time in almost 3 years. We went out to Colorado on vacation in October and several restaurants were 100% gluten free. It was so nice to not worry and just relax and enjoy myself. Choosing anything off the menu and trying food off my husbands plate was a plus! Something I see frequently are people who were diagnosed several years ago saying there was no gluten free aisle, gluten free product, etc when they were first diagnosed. I have a lot of hope that we will be able to say the same about dedicated gluten free restaurants someday too!

  2. My fair Twin Cities has a COMPLETELY gluten free restaurant that I will continue to support with my dining out dollars. It is beyond wonderful to be able to order anything (Anything!!) on the menu and not worry One. Single. Bit. The first time we went, I admit I teared up a little. It’s so nice to to have a meal out that is also a meal that doesn’t mean being on FULL ALERT all the time. And…blissfully delicious food.

  3. Sounds wonderful!!! Why ever end the Big 50 birthday bash with soirées like this?!?
    Glad to know I’m only 1,211.4 miles from a great safe meal!

    If I ever fulfill my promise to take my sweet wife to NYC, then Senza Gluten will definitely be a fearless treat! I only have to finish this teleportation transporter thing, then I’ll be there minimum 3 nights per week.

    Kudos to Chef Jemiko for his culinary talents and for keeping us safe & well fed!

  4. I know…I know! My sister and I both have celiac and so I took her to Senza for her birthday. It was both our first time. The exhilarating feeling of not having to worry about a thing was just…well I can’t find the words. And the staff treat you like family to boot. Just awesome.

  5. We need more of these. GLad you enjoyed a B- day. I hate them after 20 years of family wanting to take me out ANYWHERE I WANT. I just want to be left alone to eat so I can live. They want to have fun eating.

  6. Yes, it is a great feeling. I’ve eaten at a GF bakery and cafe near San Diego and it was nice not to have to worry. Unfortunately the food was no great shakes, but I still enjoyed it just for the experience. Last year a local celiac organization had a GF banquet at a place that is known to handle gluten free reliably. And the restaurant is tied up somehow with the leadership of the organization. So I didn’t have to worry about anything I was served– they had a room full of celiacs who would have rebelled and given them gobs of bad word of mouth, and some restaurant management types who would have been ticked off if anybody got sick. Good motivation for the staff. Being able to eat a meal without worry, even though it was a banquet meal, made it a very enjoyable evening– seemed like old times when I didn’t worry about getting sick from a meal. I felt like I had come home, somehow.

  7. Happy Birthday!

    I really have to get to New York. Though, honestly, as amazing as the meal sounds, I’m really coming for the bagels at Jennifer’s Way.

  8. Love, love, loved Senza Gluten. We were in NYC from Chicago in May (they had recently opened). From the minute I walked in I felt just like you. The owners were delightful and they made me feel so extra special. Unfortunately, I just had the soup (I had just eaten a packed lunch before our walk) and a great glass of wine, but it all looked so good. I also have a dairy and soy allergy, but they were able to accommodate it all and said, they will be happy to make any of the dishes to my liking. I will be back and this time I will sit and it a complete meal. I cannot wait..
    PS..Happy Birthday, Mr Dude..

  9. We TOTALLY relate! My 12-year-old son was diagnosed just a few months ago and we already had a family trip to London and Paris (Paris?????????) planned. I was quite nervous. Luckily, a few google/tripadvisor searches later I found these FABULOUS options – sharing here for others!

    London – Tuesday evenings, Oliver’s Fish & Chips cleans out all their pans, etc so that on Weds they can offer GF FISH & CHIPS! (It was great) –

    Paris – I found TWO patisserie/bistros that are COMPLETELY gluten free – insanely delicious and gorgeous, gorgeous, delicious deserts – and

    Plus – there are other options too – yea!

  10. Posana cafe in ashville is entirely gluten free. the dining experience is amazing and the food is delicious. Also, Oolite in Miami is also entirely gluten free. I’m not from either town but love when I get to eat at these places.

  11. michelle heyns

    Awesome Gluten Dude! My husband and I went to a place in Ashville, NC that is also totally GF called Posana. It was HEAVEN!!! We could order anything, we didn’t have to comb over every item, we didn’t have to hound every manager and every server. Highly hightly recommend. It was SPECTACULAR and we are foodies. Check it out .

  12. About 8 years ago, I told my husband if we ever got rich I was going to open a restaurant that was 100% gluten free, and also said I would like to open a store that was the same way. He said we wouldn’t have enough business to make it work. I can now officially tell him we would. Here’s to getting rich and more 100% gluten free places to eat and shop!

  13. How nice for you to find this gem of a restaurant! If you ever find yourself in Toronto, Ontario, there is a similar restaurant owned by a fellow celiac. It is called the Kensington Cornerstone and boasts a 100% gluten free kitchen with a fantastic menu. It is in the Kensington Market area close to all the great sports and entertainment venues. Come and see us up in Canada sometime!

  14. Wildwood Bakehouse in Austin is 100% Gluten free. It’s a restaurant and a bakery in oneThe menu is a bit ambitious with probably way too many items and different cuisines, but most of the food is really good.

    They have an awesome brunch on the weekends, so depending on what day you go, you can either order anything you want off the menu or taste everything on the buffet, which are both things I miss from my pre-Celiac days.

    I explain to my friends when we eat at Wildwood that I will be tasting everyone’s food. 🙂

  15. GD-

    Holy hell, now I’m jonesing to be there. Now. Thanks for tease. More important happy birthday GD, we all get to celebrate another year of awesome kickass snarky blogs from you.

    Cheers love-

    Jersey Girl

    “Forget that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone, that there’s… there’s something inside that they can’t get to and they can’t touch. That’s yours.”

  16. There are a few totally GF restaurants in NYC. You should also try Mozzarellis, Risotteria and The Little Beet Table.

  17. I took my daughter to eat at Senza Gluten in the fall and she was thrilled! To be able to hand her a menu and say “have at it!” was truly glorious. And everything we ordered was delicious. We will be back!

  18. I was recently in Syracuse, NY and found a WONDERFUL restaurant that caters very well to celiacs. It was a scratch kitchen called 110 Grill. I have never seen such a large, truly gluten free menu (including beer!!). Since they are a scratch kitchen, they make everything fresh and have dedicated GF spaces. They take their customers illnesses and allergies extremely seriously and did I mention that everything is DELICIOUS? I had calamari for the first time in what feels like forever! I seriously recommend if you are in MA or NY!

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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