Dinner at Neenamo’s: A Celiac’s Paradise

Visited In: January 8, 2011
Gluten Free Menu: Integrated with regular menu
Server Knowledge: ½
Server Attitude:
Variety of Gluten-Free Options: ½
Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating: ½
Price Range: $20 – $30 (Entrée only; three-course specials are often available)

Last week, I was faced with a real challenge: I wanted to find a nice restaurant in Truro, Nova Scotia for my boyfriend’s birthday. I also wanted to ensure that I could eat there, as I doubted he would have a good time if I struggled with the menu.

After some Web searches and discussions with friends who lived in the area, I found Neenamo’s, a small restaurant in downtown Truro. The main page of their Web site states that they “cater to customers with special dietary needs, including gluten free items.” After a quick look at their menu, I was sold and made a reservation.

We were greeted by a very friendly woman who turned out to be our server. Our first look at the menu was startling: half of the entrées and appetizers were marked gluten free! The only thing that surprised us was that there didn’t appear to be any gluten-free pasta options, but I didn’t ask as there were so many other interesting items on the menu.

Mike got the special (Caesar salad, Grecian chicken, and white bread pudding with Newfoundland screech sauce), which was $32 plus tax. I ordered the amaretto scallops ($8) and the sirloin steak ($21). We also ordered a bottle of red wine.

Unfortunately, the wine that we wanted wasn’t available, but our server suggested an excellent replacement. We also received a bread basket with two slices of regular bread and two slices of gluten-free bread – both homemade and freshly toasted! My only complaint is that both types of bread were in the same basket and actually touching each other… but that didn’t stop me from eating it! It was delicious, if slightly grainy – a texture I have come to associate with a recipe that uses a lot of rice flour. Still, this is the first restaurant that I have been at where I have received freshly made gluten-free bread, so huge points!

Both of our appetizers and entrées arrived quickly, were well presented, and most importantly, very delicious. The amaretto scallops were really unique and had me tasting the sauce with my fork (even after the scallops were gone!) to ferret out the nuances of flavour. The Caesar salad (also available gluten-free) had a delicious sharp garlic flavour, although the lettuce was a bit over-chopped. My steak was absolutely divine. The honey-bacon sauce on the Grecian chicken was amazing, rich, and unique. (We both commented that we would have liked to lick the plates clean!) Both meals came with delicious garlic mashed potatoes.

After we had finished our entrées, our plates were cleared and our server suggested we take some time to enjoy our wine. I have never seen a restaurant use this kind of timing but I really enjoyed it. We spent about half an hour letting our food settle, drinking wine, chatting, and enjoying the cosy, intimate dining room. I hadn’t even considered dessert but when our waitress returned, she offered me a flourless Kahlua-chocolate cake that I couldn’t resist. Mike had the bread pudding (also available gluten-free) which was included with his special.

Both desserts were served with whipped cream, and mine had vanilla ice cream as well. Both were spectacular, although we agreed that the Kahlua cake stole the show. I can’t remember the last time I polished off a dessert that quickly and completely! Once again, however, it was obvious that our server wasn’t aware of contamination issues when she commented that although the bread in Mike’s bread pudding wasn’t gluten-free, I could have had some of the sauce (which the bread was sitting in).

Overall, both myself and my gluten-consuming companion found Neenamo’s to be a lovely spot for a special night out, particularly for those with food sensitivities. I can’t wait to go back and try some more of their tempting dishes.

Neenamo’s
515 Prince Street (Truro, Nova Scotia)
902-843-3131
Web Site: http://neenamos.wordpress.com/

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