Today I went to lunch with a friend at Pacific Grill. In the past I have had great experiences at this asian fusion restaurant, but the main reason I chose Pacific Grill for lunch was because my friend has Celiac Disease. For those of you who don't know, Celiac is an intense intolerance to gluten, so I thought an asian restaurant would be good with all the rice dishes and such. What I didn't realize (and felt awful about) is that gluten is in EVERYTHING. Like soy sauce for example...who woudda thunk it! So this post is not only a review of the quality of food, but the accommodations made for a severe food allergy.
The first thing we noticed when we walked in was that we were literally the only people in the restaurant. Keep in mind we had a noon lunch date, it's not like we were going at a weird hour or anything. Maybe their lunch hour is mostly take out? I happen to know that they have their menu on Mealeo, which is a great online delivery service for anyone who is interested. Anyways, back to today's lunch. Once we settled in and were handed our menus I realized that the lunch menu was a lot less exciting than the dinner menu. What the menu lacked in excitement though it certainly made up for with affordability! There were a number of amazingly priced lunch specials for every cuisine they offer, Japanese, Chinese, and Thai.
Then came the moment of truth: my friend asked the waiter about any gluten free options they had. To be perfectly honest, I really don't think he knew what gluten free meant and how seriously it needed to be taken. Our waiter couldn't point out anything on the menu that was gluten free, but to his credit he went back to the kitchen to ask what could be done. The only solution that was offered that my friend felt completely comfortable with was steamed chicken and vegetables. They kept asking if she wanted any sauce but without an ingredients list she wasn't willing to take the chance - and I don't blame her. For myself, I ordered miso soup with a spicy tuna roll and a spicy salmon roll (Japanese Lunch special C to be specific).
When the miso soup came I was pretty disappointed.
Most people either love or hate miso soup, and I happen to normally love it. This soup was the exception. Not only did it taste, for lack of a better word, off...but it was also luke warm. I could only manage a couple spoonfuls before I had to give up. I feel like it's pretty hard to mess up miso soup...
My sushi was pretty good. I normally go for their more adventurous rolls but since simpler ones were what was being offered on the lunch menu I went with some classic favorites - spicy salmon (left) and spicy tuna (right)
One of the things I have always liked about Pacific Grill was the amount of rice they use for their sushi. There are so many places that try to bulk up their rolls with a ton of rice, but these rolls have just the right amount so that you can really appreciate the fish and the art that goes into sushi.
My friend's dish was certainly healthy looking!
The vegetables were fresh and not over-steamed (always important) and she said that the chicken tasted pretty good as well. Again not understanding but with good intentions, the waiter brought over a side dish of sauce for her meal. Despite the plainness of the dish, my friend was happy with it and glad that she didn't have to worry about getting sick. Personally, I would have thought that with gluten free diets becoming more and more prominent, the restaurant would have had a meal either actually offered on the menu or that they could make with a little more flavor. I'm glad that she was able to get anything at all, but I had hoped that by choosing Pacific Grill she would have been able to have something more...well, just more.
Overall my lunch experience at Pacific Grill was fairly mediocre. Not great, not horrible. I will definitely have to do a dinner review though, because it seems that at night Pacific Grill transforms into a completely different restaurant. And coming up soon, get excited, Jenny from mamatoga.com is going to do a guest post reviewing a restaurant experience with kids! Until then, enjoy the snow!