Reviews Written by HapiCmpur:  



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Facci
7530 Montpelier Road
Laurel, MD 20723


2.0 Palms
2.0 Palms
Disappointment at Facci

Reviewer: HapiCmpur
Reviewed on Mar 15, 2013

Facci is a pricey Italian restaurant just south of Columbia, MD that offers five Gluten Free entrees priced from $13 (Cheese Ravioli) to $24 (Atlantic Salmon). Most of these GF dishes come with a choice of Gluten Free pasta or vegetable medley.

I had the Pollo alla Toscana for 17 bucks. For that price, I was expecting some flavor, but I was greatly disappointed. The dish was as bland as hospital food, despite ingredients such as "button mushrooms, wood-fired red peppers, pine nuts, and rice wine sauce," to say nothing of the vegetable medley underneath. The two chicken breasts were exactly the same size and shape, suggesting that they had come from a factory. In addition to being flavorless, the chicken was also grainy in texture, hinting that it had been frozen.

My dinner companion's non-GF meal was similarly bland and equally expensive, so I conclude that the problem is with the kitchen as a whole, not merely with their specific handling of GF dishes.

I should mention that the dining area is so dark that my companion and I had a very hard time reading our menus. We also found it odd and unsettling that the music in the dining room was the same techno-club dance music that was playing in the bar.

I've heard great things about Facci Happy Hours from acquaintances and co-workers, so if I ever go back, it will be for that. It won't be for lunch or dinner.

I'm giving them 2 Palms for at least having some Gluten Free entrees on the menu.

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Chef Geoff's Downtown
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20004


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Restaurant in Washington, DC -- great gluten free experience

Reviewer: HapiCmpur
Reviewed on Sep 30, 2012

I mentioned that I have celiac disease when I called the restaurant to confirm my reservation, and I was told that my diet presented no problems for the chef. In fact, I was instructed to ask for Benjamin, their food allergen specialist, when my party was seated. Benjamin not only guided me though the menu -- recommending some meals that were already Gluten Free and also some that could be altered to become Gluten Free -- he also made wine pairing recommendations for all my guests which turned out to be stellar choices. Our meals were outstanding and the service was superb. Benjamin's expertise regarding food allergies made me feel completely safe about my choices. For the record, I had an amazing dish called "Big Shrimp and Very Gouda Grits," which I highly recommend. Chef Geoff's is located right across the street from the Warner Theater and right around the corner from the National Theater, making it a perfect dinner spot when you're downtown to see a performance. The staff prides itself on getting their guests to the show on time without rushing anyone. It was truly a great night out for me and my friends.

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The Capital Grille
601 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20004


2.5 Palms
2.5 Palms
Expensive food, hold the flavor

Reviewer: HapiCmpur
Reviewed on May 06, 2012

The food at The Capital Grille was good but far too plain and ordinary to warrant the outrageous prices. My wife and I spent over $100 on dinner there, even though we split an entree, a side dish, and a dessert. Also, we each had only one glass of wine, not a bottle. The food is especially bland for those of us eating gluten-free, as The Capital Grille is one of those restaurants that "accommodates" gluten-free diners by telling us to "Have the steak, but order it without the sauce," or to "Have the salmon, but order it without the glaze." The service was outstanding and the location was exceedingly convenient to the National Gallery of Art, which we were visiting that day, and I suppose that's what The Capital uses to justify its prices. I also have to give them some credit for their knowledge of the Gluten Free diet and for training their staff to help GF diners navigate the menu. My wife and I, however, won't be going back.

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Seasons 52
11414 Rockville Pike
North Bethesda, MD 20852


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
A Gluten-Free Menu for All Seasons at restaurant in Rockville, MD

Reviewer: HapiCmpur
Reviewed on Sep 06, 2011

Seasons 52 in Rockville (or North Bethesda, if you prefer) is an outstanding restaurant and a safe haven for gluten-free dieters. The chef specializes in creating delicious meals that are naturally low in calories and also takes pride in offering an entire set of alternative menus, including, but not limited to, GF, vegan, and lactose-free: www.seasons52.com/menu/alternative_menus.asp. My wife and I have eaten lunch and dinner at the Rockville location on many occasions and have never been disappointed. The meals are consistently outstanding and the service is impeccable – that is, if you don’t mind chatty, sometimes overly-sociable waiters. My favorite GF entree is the Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout, but the Cedar Plank Atlantic Salmon is also amazing.

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Santa Fe Grille
75 Visitors Center Drive
McHenry, MD 21541


1.0 Palms
1.0 Palms
Gluten Free Confusion at restaurant in McHenry, Maryland

Reviewer: HapiCmpur from
Reviewed on Feb 26, 2011

I'm not sure how to rate this restaurant because, on the one hand, they offer a gluten-free menu, but on the other hand, they don't seem to understand the gluten-free diet. For that reason, I feel the need to give them an even lower rating than I'd give a similar restaurant that had no gluten-free menu. What follows is an email message I sent to both managers of the Santa Fe Grille shortly after dining there. Neither manager replied, despite the fact that I sent this message to each one twice in two weeks: Dear Greta/Melissa, My wife and I dined at the Santa Fe Grille on Saturday, Feb. 12 and were thrilled to discover that you had a gluten-free menu to offer us. Throughout the evening, however, we saw several signs that the Grille is not really ready to safely serve people on a strict gluten-free diet. The Grille was far too busy that night for me to share my concerns with you at the time, but I'd like to share them with you now -- and solicit your response -- before I write a review for the Gluten-Free Travel Site. My first concern is that bleu cheese and bleu cheese dressing appeared on your gluten-free menu as safe choices. While it's true that there are a few sources of bleu cheese that are safe for gluten-free diners, most bleu cheeses are started from bread mold and are therefore toxic to people with celiac disease. My second concern is that although my wife and I ordered directly from your gluten-free menu, our meal arrived with a chunk of cornbread on the plate. I asked the waitress if the cornbread was gluten-free, and she was confused by the question. I had to inform her that most cornbread is made from corn AND wheat flour, not just from corn. When she grasped my point, she said, "Well, then I guess your wife can eat it but you can't," at which point I had to explain that I couldn't eat anything on the plate once the cornbread had been placed on it. We were then brought an entirely new meal (I think) and were very happy with the quality of the food. However, I do not feel that I had a safe dining experience at the Santa Fe Grille, and I usually don't feel that way at establishments that offer gluten-free menus. When I write my review of your restaurant, I'd like to be able to say that the Santa Fe Grille is making an effort to be gluten-free friendly and only needs to go another step or two to get there. In order to do that, I'll need answers to three questions: 1. Is your bleu cheese (and dressing) from a source that guarantees it as gluten-free, or were you just unaware of the dangers posed by bleu cheese to celiacs? 2. Does your kitchen and wait staff undergo any formal instruction on serving clients with specialty diets, especially medically-necessary diets such as mine? 3. How did you create your Gluten Free menu? Was it done, for instance, under the supervision of a dietitian or gastroenterologist? I look forward to your response.

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Showing 1 to 5 of 12 reviews
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