I was out of sorts yesterday, and my hubby surprised me with a babysitter for our five kids, and an impromptu date night. We went to White Chocolate Grill in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I had never been before. I had heard of the restaurant through the Phoenix Celiac group and Gluten Free Absolutely!, a company that works with restaurants to develop gluten-free menus and train staff.
Though we did see a few children, I would say that this restaurant would not be the best choice for families. It is casual/upscale, typical of Scottsdale. It is housed in a stand-alone building, with attractive, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture. The restaurant is fairly large, and my husband and I were surprised that, at 7:30 on a Wednesday evening, the place was packed. We had about a 30 minute wait for a table.
The White Chocolate Grill has a separate gluten-free menu ( http://www.whitechocolategrill.com/glutenFreeMenu.php ). I was especially encouraged both by the wide selection of gluten-free foods, AND the fact that there was no gluten-free penalty or upcharge. Every g.f. food item was the same price as the "normal" food.
My husband and I ordered off of their special "Date Night" menu (about $28 per person, one appetizer, two salads, two entrees, and one dessert). From the Date Night Menu, there was only one option for appetizer, the delicious grilled artichoke, cut in half, generously sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and served with a creamy dip. There were two gluten-free salad choices, but my husband and I each had a field greens salad (with goat cheese -- yum!), which came with a house creamy balsamic dressing. There were a good six or eight gluten-free choices for the entree. My husband had a grilled filet mignon with marinated mushrooms and the most amazing roasted carrots (a huge pile of them!). I had a delicious balsamic rib eye with fresh tomato and a mound of rustic mashed potatoes, which seemed to me to have a bit of nutmeg. There was only one gluten-free selection for dessert, the amazing warm chocolate souffle cake. We enjoyed our dessert with delicious coffee, which surely must be brewed per cup. IT WAS ALL AMAZING.
Oddly enough, though each dish was fabulous: high-quality, well-prepared, and delicious, the most memorable thing we ate was the honey-roasted carrots. They were unique and incredibly tasty.
The White Chocolate Grill had a glitch in their computer system, and my husband's dish came out about ten minutes after mine. For our "trouble," the management comped us my husband's dinner, even though we said it was totally fine, and didn't complain. Wow!!
It was certainly pricier than we are used to spending on a meal, but it was SO WORTH IT. I would encourage everyone to save their money, if they have to, and go visit the White Chocolate Grill.
Ambiance, selection, gluten-safety, taste, service, and overall experience makes this dinner the second-best I've had, in my eight years of dining as a celiac. Even though the selections are not quite as creative and unique as, say, a chef-crafted meal, this restaurant merits a 5-Palm rating, as the overall experience, for a celiac, is just about perfect.