One of the benefits of living and working in NYC is that it is an extremely easy city to navigate gluten-free and there is pretty much anything that any celiac could ask for on the food front. From gluten-free Chinese to pizza and everything in between the options are seemingly endless.
I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to lunch and I typically have my lunch delivered everyday using Seamless Web – an online food portal that allows you to seamlessly (see what I did there) order from restaurants in your area that offer delivery and have the food arrive when you want it. Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with anything but it was actually how I learned that the new outpost had opened. While looking through the restaurants as I was wondering what to have for lunch one day I spied Bistango and thought it odd that they would deliver to my office until I noticed the address which I recognized as the Kimberly Hotel. Could this be true? Had they opened a new location? Walking home that evening I took a detour past the hotel and sure enough – there she was in all her gluten-free glory – Bistango at the Kimberly.
I was of course familiar with Bistango’s main location in Kips Bay but had never been because it was a bit out of the way for my normal routine but that all changed a few months ago when they opened-up an outpost in the Kimberly Hotel which was just a few blocks from my office. Funny enough, I am all too familiar with the Kimberly because I used to frequent the attached club Tatou in my undergraduate days — alas those days are long gone and it is now another restaurant — which was coincidentally where my office had a holiday gathering a few years ago. Just waiting for Kevin Bacon to walk by now.
The restaurant is connected to the hotel and can be accessed from the main lobby or through a separate street entrance. It features enclosed (and heated) patio seating along with an intimate dining room and small bar area of seating facing the pizza oven.
I visited with friends for lunch one afternoon and instantly became hooked and have been back several times since and ordered delivery twice. Yes, the food and service is just that good. Now Bistango has both gluten-free and gluten-filled options but there is one menu and nearly everything (I believe there is one item that cannot be made gluten-free) can be prepared gluten-free. Now, I know what you are thinking – cross-contamination – but Bistango takes great care to accommodate diners with dietary restrictions in-particular those of us with celiac disease. In fact, when you sit-down the first question the servers ask is Does anyone have any food allergies? The restaurant has made a conscious decision to cater to guests with dietary restrictions to provide a safe experience for its guests. It is at the forefront of what they do – not an afterthought. Each and every experience I have had both at the restaurant and via delivery has been flawless.
Of course the most important part of any dining experience is the food – and in my case cocktails. The menu is offers an extensive selection of items ranging from flatbreads (which are truly amazing and these are all gluten-free regardless of your dietary requirements) and light bites to salads, pastas, and main courses. Be sure to save room for dessert though because they are absolutely decadent. The menu utilizes seasonal ingredients that are prepared in unique ways to provide a feast for the senses. Gluten-free toasted bread with olive oil and balsamic (for dipping) and house made hummus are provided for gluten-free guests.
Every meal for me always begins with a selection of flatbreads for sharing. These are magically light and perfectly crisp ellipses of perfection. My personal favorites are the Fico and Pancetta (Black Mission figs with hot Italian peppers and smoked mozzarella) and the Funghi (wild mushrooms with caramelized shallots, thyme, and truffles). My go-to dishes are the braised short rib with tomato and a rustic salsa verde sauce over gluten-free fettuccine. It typically comes with Rigatoni, which I have tried as well, but just prefer it with the fettuccine. The dish is crowned with a wonderfully crisp piece of pancetta and it is my personal theory that bacon, regardless of its pedigree, makes everything better. It also adds just a hint of additional saltiness rounding out the mild flavor of the sauce. The penne with squash, Cremini mushrooms, goat cheese cream, and fresh sage is another personal favorite. The woodsy flavor of the squash and mushrooms pair perfectly with the wonderfully creamy goat cheese coating the pasta perfectly. I had this one delivered and it arrived perfectly and even included the slices of gluten-free bread and olive oil with balsamic vinegar for dipping – a detail which make all the difference.
On the dessert front – all of which are made in-house – the carrot cake is quite possibly the best that I have ever come across. Perfectly moist and accompanied with the most decadent cream cheese icing that you would never guess was gluten-free. While this is probably my favorite, a close second would have to be the sundae featuring olive oil gelato from il Laboratorio del gelato with thyme caramel, candied hazelnuts and Meyer lemon curd – in two words, decadent perfection.
Since its opening, Bistango at the Kimberly has fast become one of my favorite new gluten-free friendly restaurants in Manhattan – which is definitely saying something. I am extremely picky when it comes to dining out and even more so when it comes to Italian since my last name ends in a vowel. Bistango at the Kimberly is a fresh take on some of my favorite classics but does not over-complicate the dishes making them a true standout. I have been with family and friends – none of whom have celiac or any dietary restrictions and they have all raved about the experience. Oftentimes when I pick a place with friends that they know is gluten-free or gluten-free friendly the eyes roll and there is that initial sense of dread that overcomes them – not the case here. Friends are actually excited to keep going back because they can have non-gluten-free options but several flatbreads are always on order regardless as they are a true crowd favorite.
You can check-out Bistango at the Kimberly’s web site for more information and be sure to check out their menus. You can also learn more on their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. If you find yourself in the vicinity either of Bistango’s locations I would highly recommend popping-in – if nothing else than for a flatbread and cocktail. You will not be disappointed.
Bistango at the Kimberly Hotel
The Kimberly Hotel
145 East 50th Street (between Lexington and Third Avenue)
New York, New York 10022