Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finding Gluten Free 'Comfort' in Richmond

A few weeks ago the husband and I were in Richmond, Virginia for a wedding. We have many good friends in Richmond so on Friday night we met up for dinner with some good friends from college. When I tell you that we had an amazing dining experience, this is no exaggeration! We went to Comfort (Broad Street) which is known for its yummy southern comfort fare. I had heard great things about Comfort and was hopeful that they would be willing to accommodate me.

The husband and I arrived a little early so we had a drink at the bar. Their beverage and food prices are shockingly reasonable (particularly since I’m used to DC dining prices) and the husband was immediately enthralled by the wide variety of bourbons they offered. Comfort does not take reservations so plan on having a drink at the bar while you wait. This part of the night was just as fun as the remainder of the evening so I didn’t see it as a pain at all. The bartender nicely talked with us and told me that they would definitely be able to find food suitable for me.

Our friends arrived and we were seated in a booth in the back of the restaurant and I immediately began to salivate over the menu! Everything looked delicious and I LOVE side dishes so there were many items I wanted…the question was could I actually eat any of them? Our waitress was incredibly nice and she has a gluten intolerance herself so she knew everything about the menu and what I could and could not eat. For example, she knew that I shouldn’t order the meatloaf because it contains oats. She circled all of the sides that I could have (unfortunately I couldn’t eat the squash casserole or fried okra but there were so many options that it didn’t matter.) She also informed me that all of the entrees were gluten free except the meatloaf and fried catfish.

As all of my fellow celiacs know, just having the ability to choose from so many things on the menu is a rare experience! So what did I order? I had the short ribs as my entrée and the sweet potato puree and asparagus for my sides. What a meal! I ate every single bite and felt totally healthy the next day. Hooray! Definitely a success!

My trip to Comfort was one of my best dining experiences since being diagnosed. The entire staff at Comfort was so welcoming and ‘comforting.’ They understood contamination and all of the little ways gluten can sneak into your food. I was a little nervous about contamination because the kitchen is so small, but it wasn’t a problem at all. I enjoyed a rich, flavorful and filling meal and I actually felt like I had choices! If you’re going to Richmond or driving through, make a stop at Comfort!

200 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220

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