Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Flat Top Grill: Food Choice Friendly Restaurant

Oscar and I had a lovely day last week. He took me to give Barnes and Noble's new NookColor a whirl and see if it is something I can use to make my life better. (It is, I loved it, and we are saving up for one.)
Then we decided to give a restaurant in the same shopping center a whirl; the FlatTop Grill.
It is based on the ubiquitous Mongolian-Style barbeque restaurants where you load up your bowl with your own mix of ingredients and a grill-cook prepares them in front of you before you take your booty back to the table and chow down. But the FlatTop Grill has a few key differences.
First, they saw me coming in my chair and had both doors wide open to help me get in with out any jostling against the door frame. They guided us to a spacious seating area and made me feel at home.
Then we mentioned allergies to our server. She hurried off, returning with a thick black binder, in which every. single. ingredient. of each and every sauce and condiment is listed. I was able to easily find choices safe for me to eat, as was Oscar. They also single out combinations safe for vegetarians, vegans, and those on restricted diets like reduced sodium, and dishes safe for diabetics, and suggestions for those with specific allergies not often  paid heed to by a restaurant (more details on that can be found on the site here),
The server even remembered that the meat was marinated and offered me a few options. She would go back and talk with the cook, and determine if the marinade was safe for me OR she could be sure non-marinated meat of my choice was available.
We loaded up our bowls with brown rice (one of several choices for the starch part of our meal), our chosen ingredients and sauces, then handed our bowls to the cook. We then returned to our seats, as, at the FlatTop, the server is the one who brings the food to you, rather than having to jostle and wait in line.
Our food was delicious. The sauces seemed freshly-made, not purchased ready-mixed. The vegetables were perfectly cooked and included choices like sweet potato and black beans as well as the more usual broccoli and onion (see photos below) . The meat available included squid as well as chicken, beef and pork, and the vegan choices were wonderful too; including quorn and seitan as well as the more usual tofu. (And I will go vegan when we eat there tomorrow with Amanda, Tommy and Sean).
It was wonderful to be treated as a welcome patron rather than an oddity with allergies.
And the price was very reasonable, too.


AlisonH said...

WOW. Good for them! And good for you for spreading the word!

My allergic daughter had the horrendous experience once of asking a waiter, who assured her a dish was safe for her, and who after she ate it mocked her and told her it had dairy in it!

Yeah, way to make your restaurant rich. Or a lawyer (but she didn't).

I can't say enough about how good it is that a few places are so careful. My thanks to the one you went to.

Kym said...

Yum! What a cool, colorful, considerate restaurant! (Great photos, too.)

Ria said...

That was awesome! Curt is really allergic to peanuts and shellfish - he's so allergic having food cooked on a grill that hasn't been cleaned starts him swelling. It can be tough sometimes. I think it's awesome that that place cares like that.