Sherlock Zone, our fearless culinary investigator, was clueless himself recently. He planned to dine with a friend, who told him she has celiac disease, which means she can’t tolerate gluten in any form. No pasta, bread or flour-based sweets for her.
When he thought about it, he realized that anyone with celiac disease is a perfect candidate for the Zone Diet, which puts a lid on high glycemic-load grains.
He did a Web search and found that the chain of Carrabba’s Italian Grills offers a gluten-free menu. Both Sherlock and his friend ordered from it and had a balanced Zone meal.
Two antipasti were to their liking: Shrimp Scampi and fresh Canadian Cove Mussels. The menu said to request no garlic toast, which Sherlock would have done anyway.
Two soups were offered: Mama Mandola’s Sicilian Chicken Soup and Fish Chowder. These soups may be ordered with no pasta added. Perfect, said Sherlock.
When Sherlock and his guest got to the salad selections, they were asked to request no croutons and to have the salad mixed in a clean bowl. A clean bowl was something Sherlock’s dinner companion had not thought to ask for, but it makes sense because if a restaurant mixes up a big salad in a bowl filled with croutons, some fragments are bound to be served up with the “crouton-free” salad.
Salad selections include the traditional house, Italian or Caesar salads. Some interesting selections are Insalata Fiorucci, mixed field greens tossed with marinated artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers and grilled eggplant in vinaigrette, topped with a hazelnut caprino cheese medallion; Insalata Carrabba, mixed field greens tossed with mozzarella and Romano cheese, black olives, tomatoes and red onions in vinaigrette, topped with grilled chicken; Insalata Carrabba Caesar, the regular Caesar topped with grilled chicken or shrimp and Parmesan cheese; and Insalata Johnny Rocco, mixed field greens with grilled shrimp and scallops, roasted red bell pepper, olives and ricotta salata cheese in vinaigrette.
Several “from the grill” selections were offered with the request for diners to ask that the items be made without grill base. Grilled salmon proved to be a favorite, complete with a gluten-free fish sauce. Several other selections are offered. Sherlock enjoyed the Chicken Gratella, grilled chicken breast basted with olive oil and herbs.
Each entrée comes with a cup of soup or a house, Italian or Caesar salad. Entrees are also served “with your choice” of garlic mashed potatoes or vegetable of the day. Your choice should be vegetable of the day.
Sherlock’s dinner companion was able to have a satisfying, gluten-free meal, and Sherlock was able to find a number of menu selections that were totally suitable for any Zoner.