one place to go when you can’t eat anything

Okay, I’m being a little dramatic – but what do you do when you’re a pescovegetarian foodie recently diagnosed with celiac disease? My first inclination as said person was to say “jump out a window”, but barring that, I found plenty of good, allergy-free stuff at Hank’s Oyster Bar, just east of Dupont Circle at 17th and Q.

Since the recent discovery of my wheat and gluten intolerance, and with a husband who is allergic to rice, you can probably appreciate the delicacy (pardon the pun) of trying to find a restaurant that won’t send us both to the hospital. It actually hasn’t been so bad, although I could kill him for tauting me with the bread basket… He had a hankering for fried oysters last night, so we headed over to Hanks to try our luck. It was packed as always, but we had the good fortune of being a small enough party to get a seat outside right away.

All in all, it was a great experience. We’d been there once before in my former days as a gluten consumer, so I can vouch firsthand for the delicate, non-greasy yumminess of breaded and fried items (however, I would not recommend the vomiting after – thank god for doctors). A quick mention of my issue to the waiter ensured that nary a puff of flour would taint my dinner. We both enjoyed the grilled cuttlefish with spinach and raisins to start, and while I enjoyed some of the Bay’s finest softshells, sauteed with an apple reduction, Andy munched out on fried oysters (and the ironic little goldfish crackers they bring to the table, that jerk…). For those of you who like eating critters of the 4-legged variety, burgers and steaks are also a possibility – and for those who don’t dig on meat whatsoever, there’s also a super rokkin’ looking veg plate and sides like steamed asparagus, mac and cheese, or onion rings. The menu changes daily, so there are always new offerings in addition to the standard fare. Hank’s doesn’t have a dessert menu – however the waiter produced a little bowl filled with broken pieces of dark chocolate at the end of our meal – um, that’ll work…

Service was wonderfully paced and pleasant – and of course the 17th and Q corner is perfect for all of your people-watching needs.

I’ll keep posting my other allergy-free restaurant findings as they emerge – but even for you enviable humans who can eat the grains and the glutens, Hank’s is a lovely little spot whereby you can get your food on.

3 Comments so far

  1. Becks (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

    Thanks Erin for your gluten-free post! First it’s good to raise awareness about this disease. AND as another person with celiac disease who also loves going out to eat, Im always happy to learn about a place that is accomodating to us with CD.

  2. Mik (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

    Try The Vegetable Garden on Rockville Pike.

  3. Erin Myers (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

    Thanks for the tip – that’s actually one of my favorite Asian restaurants as a vegetarian! The one thing peeps with Celiac have to be careful of is soy sauce – it actually contains wheat, and is therefore dangerous to those with a wheat or gluten allergy. Tamari is a safe alternative, however. Because soy sauce is so prevalent in Asian cuisine, make sure to always check before going to ANY restaurant of an Asian nature to see if they have foods that are safe to eat! I made the mistake of going to a Japanese restaurant without doing my homework, and ended up extremely sick from Seaweed salad dressing, Ponzu sauce and Saki made with a wheat component, believe it or not.

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