Gluten-Free Las Vegas: Sushi Samba, STK & Bouchon — Oh My!


Let me just go out on a limb and say if you’re traveling to Vegas, your main focus isn’t sticking to your diet. How much cash you can lose and still pay the mortgage, how many free vodka gimlets you can score from the casino waitress, and how much does a hooker cost, anyway? These thoughts will take up much more of your head space. For those of us with Celiac, however, no matter how many martinis are tossed back we’ve still gotta’ check the menu for gluten. Phhhhhhpt.

Luckily I traveled with a group of accommodating ladies who didn’t seem to mind me quizzing the wait staff when we sat down to eat. Or at least had the courtesy to talk about me behind my back while I was away, killing it at the slot machines. (Me and Grandma raked it IN.) For that kindness I will not post any photos of any of these lovely women in compromising positions. You’re welcome, Rebecca.

Also luckily, I travel with people who have incredible taste in restaurants. Which is how we found ourselves at Sushi Samba, STK and brunch at Bouchon. I happily got my gluten-free eat on at these restaurants, and all of them were ah-mah-zing. That’s a fact, jack. Also a fact? I ate at all of these restaurants and I was only in Vegas for about 24 hours. Sick!

Sushi Samba

Even though I used to cruise by it all the time, I never dined at Sushi Samba when I lived in New York. I’m now wishing I could go back in time and remedy that situation because it was super fun times. Maybe it was the waitress who was so on top of this gluten-free business that I felt like I could just tell her to bring me out plates and I’d chow down with confidence, but I was in sushi heaven at the Samba. I ordered the Green Envy rolls without the wasabi pea crust (sharp eye, waitress!) but with aji amarillo-key lime mayo, which meant I didn’t even need the devil soy sauce for dipping and instead could enjoy the gluten-free accoutrement without fear. But you know what? They totally had wheat-free tamari ready to go as well. As if that didn’t make me happy enough, I stole coconut rice from my dining neighbor and I wish I’d ordered five bowls of that lusciousness for lunch. I’m on a mission to recreate that business in my house, because coconut rice makes me feel all warm inside. No, it wasn’t the Hakata cocktail. Okay, maybe.

STK

If you’ve ever thought, hey, I really want to enjoy my high-end dinner while right in the middle of a Vegas nightclub, STK is the spot for you. (You will be excused for never, ever, never, having that desire.) Chef Stephen Hopcraft, of “Top Chef” fame, clearly loves to cook within an environment that encourages table side grinding and sex in the bathrooms, because the food at STK is exceptional. Also exceptional? Our waiter who was so gluten knowledgable he kept checking in with me throughout the night. Or at least I think that’s what happened, because after a few shots I’m not sure if I was just fantasizing about him “checking in” with me or it was really happening. Also he did this thing where I got two small bowls of salads instead of one. Because of gluten. Or just a fuck up, I’m still unclear. About a million things are unclear about that dinner because you honestly couldn’t hear a gd thing what with the “Humpty Dance” blasting. What was clear? Potatoes in a variety of ways and steak at STK are the bomb.

Bouchon

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months you’ll know I’m having a love affair with Thomas Keller’s gluten-free flour, Cup4Cup. Which is why I was super excited to hit his Vegas eatery for brunch, even though I was basically guaranteed to be left drooling over all of the pastries that I cannot eat. Rumor has it that Keller serves up gluten-free goodies in his restaurants, hence, his invention of Cup4Cup. Sadly, they did not get that memo at the Bouchon in Las Vegas. Not sadly, I still got this crazy ham steak and eggs breakfast that was out of this world. Even better? I had a plane to catch so I had to eat quickly at the bar, and I left before the basket of pastries even arrived. Whew! No gluten envy for me.

Of course there’s one more way to stay completely gf while you’re enjoying the charms of Sin City. Stick to the blackjack tables, and only order hard liquor. You’ll be totally safe.

14 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Gluten Free Restaurants, Uncategorized

14 responses to “Gluten-Free Las Vegas: Sushi Samba, STK & Bouchon — Oh My!

  1. Interesting. I didn’t know hard liquor was gluten free.

  2. Pingback: Vegas sushi | Shopitsolution

  3. I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

  4. Hey, I stumbled across your post through a link on MySpace and thought your information enlightening. I have linked to your post for the interest of my own web site readers and will return soon.

  5. LOL… you had me rolling on the floor laughing… I was asked to go on a FODMAP diet by my doctor recently and was feeling a little bit depressed, esp at the thought of visiting Vegas, San Fran and Haiwaii feeling absolutely deprived!

    Thank you for such a fun blog, I will certainly be trying those awesome eats you recommended! Incidentally, what alcohol can I drink cos I can’t deprive myself in that department! I don’t drink beer anyway but feel free to give me some guidance on other alcoholic drinks ;)

    • Thanks!

      The good news is you can drink most other alcoholic drinks. You can have wine, vodka (although some gfree people disagree on this one, my nutritionist says to go for it), whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, some ciders (always look on the label and/or ask the bartender). Just don’t drink flavored vodkas or anything with malt liquor like Mike’s Hard Lemonade or the like. Enjoy!

      • Thanks for the advice ^^

      • I wanted to let you know that not all wine is Gluten Free. Please be careful when telling your readers that. I have found out that a portion of international wineries, use casks are lined with flour before the wine is put into them, therefore contaminating the wine.

        If there is any Celiac’s out there reading this, please do your research before putting ANYTHING in your mouth. DO NOT ASSUME. Assumptions may make you extremely ill.

        My wife (the Celiac) and I have learned this the hard way.

      • Benaiah, with all due respect this isn’t common. In fact, in researching my book a dietician told me it was spreading misinformation to tell people wine had gluten in it. If you are one of the unlucky few that happens upon a cask that had flour in it, you’ve kind of won the gluten lottery. It’s just not realistic to say that is going to be the case when you’re ordering a glass of wine in Vegas. If you happen to have a list of wineries that do this please share, because just about every single winery in the world does not.

        Sorry if this seems harsh, I’m just not a fan of scaring celiacs, since we’re already so restricted. In fact, it makes me crazy insane. Drink up, everybody!

      • While I agree with you that it is a very rare circumstance for an individual to become “glutened” while drinking wine, it is still a possibility that gluten may be introduced to certain wines (especially French wines) through the flour paste of the barrels and the “fining” process (used to clarify the wine). I have known Celiacs that have never had an adverse reaction and they drink a HELL of a lot but I have also seen a few have bad reactions to a glass of red. I am in no way trying to scare anyone but merely trying to make sure they are aware.

        I really like your blog and think it its amazing. I hope that I haven’t offended you in any way!

        -Benaiah

  6. What did you order at STK? I get nervous with mashed potatoes at restaurants since some like to add things…

    • Hi Jen, well I had a big old steak and I had a veggie side of either broccoli or brussels sprouts. I believe there was a fried potato situation at some point, and shots. Hence, my lack of memory at my side dish. They were very informed, and guided me away from any bad stuff.

  7. Thanks Benaiah! As I mentioned, it’s a sore spot as I feel there is so much misinformation (like say, with the vodka thing and someone also told me once that ChapStick had gluten in it) while at the same time we don’t know about things like Skinny Vanilla Lattes. So excuse me if I get a little defensive when someone hollers.

    I appreciate you trying to tell everyone about an experience your wife had, even if it seems like I totally don’t. ;)

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