Living the gluten-free good life in D.C.

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Willow Restaurant – Arlington, VA

March 15th, 2009 by Brandi

Friday night, fellow glutie Brooke and I decided to ditch our husbands and grab some grub in Arlington. After hemming and hawing over takeout or making some Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pizzas at my apartment, we decided to head out to Willow Restaurant in Ballston. It’s close by and we were hoping to split some light salads and appetizers.

The restaurant has a cozy bar that I strongly recommend. The sofas and wood paneling provide the right ambiance. The high-top tables, while few, make for a casual dinner spot. The other perk – you can order the entire menu at the bar. We started with two glasses of the Falling Star Malbec-Merlot blend, which was a smooth way to kick off the night. When it was time to make a decision about our meals, we weren’t immediately swayed. At first glance, it would appear that the menu is not designed for the gluten free. But, luckily, chefs Tracy O’Grady and Kate Jansen created a kitchen with their guests’ needs in mind – everything is made to order.

At the recommendation of the bartender, we were able to order what we’d like and the kitchen staff would ensure it was gluten free. We settled on the organic mixed greens with oranges and hearts of palm, followed by the pepper crusted filet mignon medallions. The beef was unmatched and raised locally at a farm in VA. We replaced the spinach tart with the gluten-free scalloped potatoes, which were delectable! To cap off the meal, we chose the vanilla bean creme brulee and were not disappointed.

While Jim at the bar (sing along) will help you create an order that satiates your appetite and protects your tummy, we haven’t tested out the gluten savvy of the rest of the staff. So, we encourage you to stop by and put them to the test!

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