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Cucina Vivace Buon Appetito!

July 24th, 2008 by Brandi

Cucina Vivace, a fledgling Italian trattoria in Crystal City, is a gluten-free friendly treat. My dining euphoria began when Chef Gordon Vivace made a trip to our table while we browsed the wine menu of more than 60 options from small vineyards across Italy (no Beringer’s Rose in this joint). His non-intrusive inquiry about our comfort with the wine menu and dinner choices was a nice start to the evening.

The menu, which is organized by course – Antipasti, Primi and Secondi, offers comparable wine pairings for each savory selection. You can choose one menu item from each course for only $38. Add a wine pairing per the chef’s recommendation and it’s only a mere $17 in addition.

We opted for the prix fixe menu,  but upon requesting steamed spinach in place of creamed for the gamberi (delish!), chef Vivace returned to the table to check in on our request. When I shared my gluten sensitivity with him he responded that, aside from the pasta, only corn starch is used in his kitchen. Aha! An Italian restaurant that is GF friendly. We were safe to enjoy the fried polenta, creamed spinach and glazes on every meat.

I ate with peace of mind and enjoyed a gluttonous meal of shrimp with creamed spinach and pine nuts, Caesar salad sans croutons and halibut with capers and tomato. And who could resist a taste of panna cotta to seal the deal. For those gluten loving companions, word on the street is the fresh ciabatta with extra virgin is nice.

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