Park Restaurant: Great Options for Gluten-free Diners

Recently, I met some friends at Park, which has replaced the Redline in Harvard Square.  We had a great meal and I really enjoyed the restaurant’s menu and atmosphere.  Park is a great interpretation of a British inspired neighborhood pub serving an ecletic mix of Southern, British and French inspired dishes. 

The space is masculine in a good way: the décor brings to mind libraries and hunting lodges.  Black and white photographs, vintage prints and lighting add a lighter touch to the leather, plaid and wood furniture.  The space immediately reminded me of the neighborhood pubs around London. 

It was a Wednesday night, so the restaurant was not very crowded. We were seated immediately.  Our waitress came over quickly and took our drinks order.  The wine and beer list had a nice mix breadth of offerings at reasonable price points.  I ordered a glass of Malbec and was happy with my choice.  I really don’t know wine so I couldn’t tell you about the dryness, fruity notes and tannins.  I just know it was easy to drink on its own and went well with my meal. 

When I ordered my wine, I told our waitress about my gluten allergy and asked what she would recommend.  The waitress obviously understood my allergy, she was just less sure what to recommend on the menu off hand.  Park had just opened the week before, so I was not surprised that she was unfamiliar with all the specific items suitable for a gluten allergy.  She said the kitchen took food allergies very seriously and cooked items in separate pans to avoid cross-contamination where possible.  After placing our drinks order, she went back to the kitchen to check on a few items so to be able to provide more information. 

Our drinks arrived with some bread and Vermont cheddar cheese.  I was happy to be able to nibble at the cheese while my friends tasted the bread. I don’t know why, but it always feels weird to watch other people eat when I am also hungry.  When I am full, doesn’t bother me a bit.  Anyway, I liked having some cheese to nibble on as others grazed on the bread.

As the wine was served, the waitress was able to provide more information on gluten-free options.  She did confirm that most of the menu was gluten-free or could be made gluten-free.  Some items that are not gluten-free: the fried chicken, the creamed spinach, sandwiches and meat pie.

I ordered bar steak with gruyere potato skins and creamed spinach.  I had to substitute roasted asparagus for the creamed spinach and instead of the potato skins, which may have come in contact with gluten in the ovens, they pan-fried some steak fries and made those into potato skins: melting cheese and bacon over the top. 

My steak arrived perfectly cooked, I ordered medium (normally I get medium well) and this was just a little over medium.  The steak had a nice pat of butter oozing into the steak, which softened the meat and added to the fat lining my arteries without clogging them up completely.  The asparagus was well-roasted with a little crisp on the leafy tips.  I loved the potato “skins”.  They were very cheesy satisfying.

My friend enjoyed their meals as well.  They said everything was tasty and the meats paired well with the vegetables accompanying them.  It certainly seemed like the vegetables were part of the dish and not just an afterthought, which was nice. 

The service was great, very pleasant and attentive without being annoying.  I am looking forward to returning again soon.  This is a great restaurant with excellent service and support for diners with food allergies.   

Full marks for taste and quality of food.

No gluten-free menu, but the kitchen and staff seem to understand gluten allergies and make accomodations for diners with food allergies. I felt safe dining here.