What a difference a server makes.
I like Clyde Common. The food has always been amazing, and their mixed drinks are equally amazing. I still remember the first time I went there. It was New Year's Eve, and for some reason the mood struck me to get a Bloody Mary. I almost never order that drink - it's usually too sweet or salty for me. Well, this one was made from a chili sauce. It was spicy and perfect.
Another reason to like Clyde Common is that many of their dishes are gluten-free without having to make substitutions. They aren't trying for it; they are just really high-end. The food is cheffy, which typically means they don't rely on a lot of wheat products. Wheat is boring and mundane, after all. Gluten is passé.
So I took a gluten-free friend to Clyde Common this winter. We got our fancy cocktails and we checked out the dinner menu. There were several things that looked doable as a gluten-free dish. I told our server about our dietary restraints and then said we had picked out a few things that we thought would work gluten-free, and he should let us know if any of it wouldn't work. (Caveat: this is not my typical strategy, nor is it the best one for informing the server of a food allergy.)
The place was crowded, so we waited a while for the food to arrive. Once it did we were pretty hungry. However, I looked at my plate and suddenly doubted my choice. Everything seemed saucier than I imagined from the description. As you can imagine, sauce is something that strikes my heart with fear. I caught my server's eye and asked him if he was sure that everything we had been served was gluten-free? He got this blasé expression on his face and told me, "Well, I think everything should be gluten-free."
Then I gave him this look. Internally, I was formulating my response. However, a verbal response proved unnecessary. My look said it all. My look said, "Do you really expect me to eat something at your restaurant that could make me sick?" Suddenly, before I could verbalize my thought, the server got a stricken expression on his face. He was suddenly scared of me. He quickly pulled himself together and blurted out that he would go talk to the chef and double-check!
He was right back. He assured us that he had consulted with the chef and that everything was 100% gluten-free. He seemed really relieved that he hadn't given me reason to cause him bodily harm. We indulged heartily in our winter repasts.
I wasn't very impressed by that customer/server interaction, so I didn't go back for several months. Then, the other day I happened by there and remembered that they usually had several things I could eat. My plan A had fallen through, so I decided to go for it. They had a beautiful chilled celery soup that they served without croutons to make it gluten-free.
Have you been to Clyde Common? What was your experience?