The Gluten Free Babe
The Guac Spot: An Honest Review
*DISCLAIMER: My reviews of restaurants will always be honest. While the majority of my dining experiences are positive, sometimes that's not always the case.*
When Dave and I found out there was a restaurant going in close to us that focused on our favorite appetizer, guac, we were so excited. Our schedules never lined up with their hours unfortunately, so up until last week we never had a chance to try their food.
Located right off Bloomfield Ave in Verona, there's not a ton of parking, even in it's own lot which is shared with the Empanada Lady and another store. Luckily for us, we went earlier on a Saturday, which resulted in us getting parking out front. The interior of the restaurant is minimalist but chic, and the restaurant is spotless. With a counter to order food for take out, we were instructed to seat ourselves and that sometime would take our order.We chose a high top table by the window, near the entrance. It's important to note that Dave and I were the only people in the restaurant and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop... borderline uncomfortably quiet.
Our waitress came over to take our drink order and while looking over the menu I realized I had some questions -
1. Could I eat the Bourbon Chicken tacos? (I know most bourbon has wheat in it, however some brands do not)
2. Do the tacos come with corn tortillas or flour?
3. Is there wheat in the chipotle sauce? (Sometimes restaurants will do this to thicken sauces).
When our drinks came out, I made our waitresses aware of my allergy (although gluten intolerance is not an allergy, when ordering I find more success ordering it this way) and proceeded to politely ask her my questions. In regards to the bourbon chicken, she instantly told me "yes" that I could have it, and when I asked her if she could check and reminded her of my allergy, she instantly seemed almost frustrated. She went in the back and when she came out, it was clear that she was not frustrated but rather visibly flustered. She began to rattle off what I could and could not eat, stating that no, I could not have the bourbon chicken. She also stated that she's not sure what I would eat since it's not a dedicated kitchen. We wound up ordering chips and guac to start and then I ordered Jerk Chicken Tacos while Dave ordered a burrito bowl.
The chips had a great seasoning on them and were fresh, and the guacamole while smooth and cold (we love a cold guac) was a little lack luster in the acidity department. Personally, in a guacamole I feel it's important to have more than just a good avocado, but have it seasoned appropriately with acid and maybe even a little heat as well.
My tacos were good. They were on a corn tortilla (I'm not sure if they make them fresh or purchase, if I had to guess I would assume they are not made fresh) and had a nice balance between the jerk seasoning, mango and the guac on top. The chicken was cooked well and was still juicy, and was not overpowered by the jerk seasoning. Dave's bowl was average, about on par with any quick service Mexican restaurant.
When it comes down to it, this experience was not one to write home about. Not because of the food alone, but majorly because of the fact that I was made to feel extremely uncomfortable about an allergy that I can't control. In an atmosphere where it was so quiet and slow to have someone be flustered and push that feeling on you is not an experience I would recommend. In regards to her kitchen comment: as someone with an allergy, you come to understand that while most restaurants do not have a dedicated kitchen space and warn of cross contamination that due to sanitary reasons (including cleaning practices) while possible, cross contamination isn't always the case. It's worth noting that I did NOT get sick from here.
In short: if you have no allergies and need a quick bite, this could be a good choice. If you're like me and have an allergy, pass on this place.