|Visited On:||October 22, 2013|
|Gluten Free Menu:||Regular menu is 100% gluten-free|
|Variety of Gluten-Free Options:|
|Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating:|
|Price Range:||$15-$25 per person, plus drinks, tax, and tip|
We get a lot of people asking us if Halifax has a dedicated gluten-free restaurant. Pete’s Gluten-Free Eatery and Coffee Bar is dedicated gluten-free and offers snacks and lunches, as does Odell’s Gluten Free Bakery and Café. In New Glasgow, Get Stuffed Healthy Cafe and Juice Bar (which offers lunch, supper, snacks, and take-home options) is 100% gluten-free and Celiac friendly.
As far as we can tell, the closest full-service gluten-free restaurant is Zero8, located in Montréal. They’re not just gluten-free either. The entire restaurant is free of the eight major allergens: fish/seafood, all nuts, sesame seeds, milk, soy, eggs, and wheat/gluten. They also mark dishes containing sulphites and mustard on the menu, and are happy to accommodate any other allergens. They serve supper every day except Monday, and also have a lunch service on Saturday. You can also pick up meals to take home and cook.
We were in Montréal last month, so we stopped by on a Tuesday evening shortly after they opened. Michael and I ordered a pitcher of sangria ($19.50) to start, as well as an order each of manioc (tapioca) bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar ($1 each). For the main, I chose the steak frites with a wine sauce ($19.95). I also asked them to add smoked duck to my fries ($5 upcharge), as I’d heard the dish was legendary. Michael chose the smoked pork shoulder with a mushroom rice side ($23.95).
Our bread was the first item delivered. We each got two small grilled pieces of bread with a small dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was definitely the most unique bread I’d ever had: it was gluey, transparent in places, and rather squeaky. I’m glad that we tried it, but I wouldn’t go back for seconds. (Tapioca is my least favorite gluten-free product, so I might be slightly biased.)
Our mains arrived not long after. I’d read reviews of the restaurant and everyone raved about the fries with smoked duck. The consensus seemed to be that the duck somehow imitated cheese, and with complementary gravy, created a gluten-free, dairy-free poutine. I was extremely skeptical, but they were right. The richness and texture of the duck pieces somehow fooled you into thinking that you were eating cheese. The gravy was unbelievable, and the French fries were perfectly cooked and seasoned. I would drive back to Montréal for this dish! The steak was equally amazing. It was obviously a good cut of meat, and was cooked to a perfect medium. The accompanying sauce was very nice, too.
Michael’s pork shoulder was also excellent. The pork itself was perfectly cooked with a delicious sauce, and the rice and vegetables were equally delicious. As well, the portion was huge, making it well worth the slightly high price.
Although we were quite full, we had to try dessert! I ordered the chef’s special ($6.50), which was a vanilla cake with chocolate ganache and a caramel topping. Michael had the chocolate cake ($7.50), which featured a chocolate sauce and chocolate ganache. We found both of the desserts disappointing overall. I found the vanilla cake very rice-flavoured and dense, while Michael’s cake had a strange aftertaste to it. The ganache, however, was delicious.
Overall, we had a great meal. It was so nice to be able to share our meals with each other without any concern about cross-contamination. It was also amazing being able to order anything I wanted off the menu and not have to ask a zillion questions. It’s quite impressive what they can do without some of the most common ingredients in cooking. If you find yourself in Montréal, I highly recommend a night at Zero8, even if you don’t have food allergies. For Celiacs, it’s a must-visit!
1735 Rue St-Denis (Montréal, Québec)
Web Site: http://zero8.com