As a GF diner, Italian restaurants can be pretty depressing. You have to be willing to act excited about a chicken and salad while your friends gobble down allll the carbs. But this isn’t the case with Barano at all, thanks to their new gluten-free dinner menu! The pizzas and pastas from the regular menu can be made gluten-free, and their GF pasta is housemade, a.k.a. it’s not rice pasta out of a box! They even have an eggplant parm app and a veal parmigiana entree that can be made GF, so you can experience a complete Italian meal full of your traditional favorites…
We started our meal with the Eggplant Parm, the Little Gem Lettuce and the Octopus al Piastra appetizers. Everything was so beautifully presented I almost didn’t want to eat it! Octopus is hard to get right, but theirs was amazing and came over a bed of little potatoes and pesto. Gluten avoiders are used to asking for no croutons at Italian restaurants, but our salad (the “Little Gem Lettuce”) had crunchy GF breadcrumbs made from potato starch and rice flour. The GF version of Barano’s award-winning eggplant parm was great, too! We could have gotten full just off of that, but the main course – pizza and pasta – was worth saving room for. We ordered the asparagus pizza, which had a runny duck egg in the middle, and the saffron fusilli, which had a tinge of honey and some spice from red pepper flakes. At the end of the meal, Barano’s owner told us we couldn’t leave without trying the crown jewel of their GF menu: the torta caprese, a chocolate torte made from almond flour. Needless to say we left FULL and happy, and my non-gluten-free friend told me that she never would have known any of these dishes weren’t gluten-full.
Right now, Barano only offers their full gluten-free menu for dinner, but many of their brunch items (which include pizza and pasta) can also be made gluten-free. Barano is a great spot for date night, family dinner or more intimate meal with friends, and as a Manhattanite, I think it’s definitely worth crossing the bridge for!