Restaurant: Spring Natural Kitchen
Location: 474 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY
One star ★ of 5
Review: I was on the Upper West Side last week to have lunch with three friends, and someone suggested a new (or rather, new to me) restaurant with a comprehensive gluten free menu: Spring Natural Kitchen. Friends have heard me say that I’ll only try new places if I know the owner or if the menu is “very gluten free” – as I am one of those celiacs who is highly sensitive and pays dearly for any missteps (on the part of the restaurant staff). Well, Spring Natural Kitchen seemed to fit the bill, as the menu is clearly marked with gluten free options, which make up over half of the entrees.
I am sorry to have to rate Spring Natural Kitchen with just one star, and that only because the food was pretty good. Unfortunately, I fell extremely ill as a result of eating there and now, four days later, it is still working out of my system. It seems that this restaurant is gluten free for those who want to be on a fad diet, but it is not sufficiently careful with cross-contamination to be safe for celiacs. I did ask the waiter about these issues before ordering, and he sounded relatively knowledgeable when I checked nothing was fried with gluten foods, etc., but alas the end result was highly disappointing. I have only been sick twice in the last six months prior to this incident (one noted in a prior blog post), and like the other circumstances, I can pinpoint this incident to the specific restaurant because I had no other food outside of my home in the days before or after. Disappointing!
I am back to evaluating my criteria for a new restaurant, since it seems that a comprehensive gluten free menu as the standard for giving it a try has failed miserably in this case. Maybe they were just having a bad day with a new chef, but their one bad day turns into my many bad days…. In other words, if they are going to have bad days, they need to mark their items as “only safe if you were kidding about the gluten free thing, because we may or may not really do it.” The level of my reaction to the food (full-on celiac response for over 72 hours) indicates that the contamination meter would have been pretty high.
Kids: Appears neutral. Given the location and relatively good prices, it is probably very full at certain times.