Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gluten Free Restaurant Review - Verona Village Inn

Verona Village Inn - 551 Wildwood Avenue - Verona, PA

Hubby and I headed out last night to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. As a woman on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, restaurants are often a big hit or a big miss, and I dread trying something new since some of my G-free dining experiences have been truly horrible. These bad experiences include pricey "fine dining" places to fast food joints. Many people just don't understand what food intolerance is and often make rash judgments ("She's SOOO picky!") or express fear ("Am I going to have to call an ambulance if you smell the broccoli cheddar soup?") when I share my dietary needs with waitstaff. But share I must, mostly because if I don't make my needs known I'll invariably get a meal I can't eat.

Of all the types of restaurants, Italian ones are the worst as far of selection for me. Italian restaurant menus are saturated with pasta dishes slathered with cheese and I must navigate a minefield of wheat and dairy based dishes reading the ingredients carefully, then asking the waiter "what else" is not listed in the description on the menu. When my husband recommended the Verona Village Inn, I was not enthused. We in fact passed it to try another local eatery, but turned back when it was obvious that we would not get a table until sometime next week. We turned back and walked in, and as I perused the menu and took in the ambiance, my expectations changed drastically.

The place was busy, but there was not a wait, even though we did not make reservations. We were seated and served by friendly courteous staff who were bustling through the restaurant, but they did not make us feel rushed. Our drinks and meal were served with wonderful smelling garlic bread and fresh salad. I selected a grilled chicken salad topped with french fries and asked that they hold the cheese. My waitress was a bit surprised when I brought out my own cheese substitute and jokingly asked where I found it on the menu. My chicken breast was grilled just right and had a wonderful flavor. The salad was a fresh mix of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and mushrooms, which tasted as if it was just cut right before I ordered it. My husband's lasagna looked yummy and smelled even better, and even though I couldn't eat it, I enjoyed the fact that he was full and happy afterward.

My glass of white Zinfandel topped off the evening perfectly. I haven't had a meal out at a restaurant this good in a very very long time. Verona Village Inn was a definitive big hit! They may have to get used to seeing us every year. ;)

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