Friday, March 6, 2015

A love letter to Bistango

If you live in New York and have not been to Bistango, you need to drop whatever you are doing, get in a cab (let’s face it, it’s cold outside) and go there right now. It is my favorite restaurant in the city. I will happily spend every birthday, anniversary –  heck let’s say every Saturday – there, elegantly dining away on white wine, pasta, and flourless chocolate cake. Kristopher and I were there last weekend, happily celebrating the two year anniversary of when we met.

Anthony, the owner of this magical place, is the perfect host. An absolute gentleman. He is very much of the reason why I keep coming back. Almost every night he can be found greeting all of the regulars and newbies at the door. And he truly cares about making his restaurant the most wonderful place to be for the gluten intolerant. I remember speaking with him a few years ago after my second or third visit. I told him about my recent Celiac diagnosis and thanked him for the care he shows towards Celiac and NCGS folks. He looked at me earnestly and said, “I’m glad you’re okay.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why it will always be my favorite spot in the city (the amazing food and atmosphere does help, too).

It goes without being said that Kristopher and I have visited fairly frequently. It’s always the site of my birthday parties, and whenever family comes in from out of town it is our go-to place. It just makes everyone happy – the gluten eaters and the non. Often times, however, I’ll have a gluten eating friend hungrily look at my dish and say, “Well, mine looks really good….but yours looks even better. Can I have a bite?” Kris has gotten into the habit of suggesting that everyone order gluten free to see how amazing gluten free dining can be.

Upon arriving for our anniversary, Kristopher and I were shown our seats and were asked if we had any food intolerances (don’t you just love it when waiters ask this right away?). We were happily munching away on GF baguette when Anthony came to our table to give us both hugs, sit with us for a bit and ask how the cook book was coming along. We chatted about recipes while Kris showed him some recent pictures. It made our night so special. He later left us to our meal and our wine, both of which disappeared slowly as we chatted away. The dessert menu came. As full as we were, we have learned that you NEVER say no to dessert at Bistango. The best desserts in the city, as far as we are concerned (and we’ve tried a lot). We shared two desserts – our favorite flourless chocolate cake and a new delicious raw cake that Anthony told us we must try.

I had every intention of taking pictures of our beautiful meal for the blog, but that idea completely flew out of my head the second our dishes arrived. So until I update this post, please enjoy a picture of a previous Bistango outing. As you can see, these desserts almost didn’t make it in time for the picture either. They are just that good. (Note: that’s the famous flourless chocolate cake! The best dessert in the house and by far the best flourless chocolate cake in Manhattan – mine comes in at second).

So on your visit:
-          Call ahead for a reservation. You’ll definitely need it on a Friday or Saturday night.
-          Say hi to Anthony and tell him that Jessica sent you.
-          Enjoy your GF baguette because it is SOO good.
-          Order any of the pasta or entrĂ©e dishes. I’ve had at least half of the things on the menu and they are all fantastic. This particular visit we chose the pizza with meatballs and pasta with spicy marinara and sausage.
-          ALWAYS save room for dessert. Order the flourless chocolate cake and at least one other dessert. Even if it’s just you. You can always take it home, right?
-          Tip them well and thank the staff before leaving to show how much you support restaurants that support the gluten free community.

Happy two years, Kristopher! Can we go back to Bistango soon?

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