Friday, August 7, 2009

Restaurant Review: Biaggi's - Cary

I had the pleasure of visiting Biaggi's Italian Restaurant this week for lunch. I've heard from numerous readers about Biaggi's and all the great experiences folks have had there. Until now, I've just never had the opportunity to get to that part of Cary. Biaggi's is a 22 restaurant chain which began in Bloomington, IL in the late 90s. The Cary location is the only one in NC. The chain strives to make the majority of menu items fresh onsite each day.

As always, I did a little research online at Biaggis.com and was pleased to find their rather extensive Gluten Free menu. This GF menu features a big list of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes and entrees. I was really impressed as the menu seemed really well thought out to provide GF diners with a vast selection. I got a little concerned though about all the grilled items on the menu. Usually, when I see grilled on a GF menu it makes my red flag alert go up as the potential for cross-contact can be extensive on a shared grill. I decided to proceed to the restaurant to inquire further - I could always get another non-grilled item on the list.

Upon entering the restaurant, I spoke with the person at the hostess station. I informed her I was Gluten Free and she gave me the Gluten Free menu mentioned above. I inquired about the grilled options and how that could usually cause some concern. She informed me that Biaggi's entire grill is Gluten Free. No Gluten containing ingredients ever touch the grill and this major change allows for Biaggi's to offer much more GF options on their menu. I also asked her about the pasta choices. I asked if their pasta was either a different color or shape than all the other wheat pastas as to help everyone involved (including me) verify the pasta actually was GF. She went to the back and asked the chef about this and returned with the GF pasta now should be green (spinach). She told me to make sure if I ordered pasta it was indeed spaghetti shaped and green.

Upon ordering, I mentioned to the waiter that I would be ordering off the Gluten Free menu. He said to just relax because they serve multiple GF customers on a daily basis and have a full understanding of the ingredients and cross-contact issues in the kitchen. I felt pretty darn comfortable - one of the most comfortable times eating out since May 2008. I was actually able to sit and talk with the people I was out to lunch with and just relax and wait for my food like everyone else. My extreme urge to ask the waiter 101 questions, to speak directly with the chef, to inspect the kitchen personally was pretty much gone.

I placed my order - Chicken Piemontese. How can you not order this "Grilled chicken breast stuffed with imported Italian ham and smoked provolone and Gouda cheeses. Topped with a lemon-basil butter sauce and served with sautéed asparagus and roasted herb potatoes." YUM. I was actually torn between this and several other menu items. This is the first time I can claim that this has happened since going GF.

The food itself was excellent. I really enjoyed my entire meal, felt totally normal while eating and completely cleaned my plate. I sorta had the thought in the back of my head that this was really too good to be true. The next part is the true barometer. I usually wait about 24 hours and see if any symptoms occur. For me, it's headaches and flare ups of my DH. It's been a few days and I'm extremely happy to report that neither of these side effects have occurred. I'm pretty excited to add Biaggi's to my list of restaurants that really do understand what Gluten Free means - both ingredients and cross-contact.

Information
Biaggi's Italian Restaurant
Preston Walk
1060 Darrington Drive
Cary, NC 27513

Web site - Biaggis.com
Phone - 919.468.7229
Hours - Mon - Thurs 1130am - 930pm, Fri - Sat 1130am - 1030pm, Sun 1130am - 9pm


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3 comments:

The Gluten-free 'Dish' said...

I am glad you had a relaxing Gf meal! A few years ago, I took my list of allergies in with me and had the chef recommend something I could eat. It was nice to eat out, but I had so many food intolerances my meal was safe, but lacking in taste.
Perhaps, now I could try them again.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I have a salt hangover from my $22 glorified pot roast that was served with a steak knife. Braised short ribs, done right, should need no knife at all.

Bob said...

I've eaten here a couple of times. I would say it is 50/50 on being GF. I asked during the last time if they cooked the pasta separately since the previous time I had gotten really sick. At first they thought they cooked them together just that the pasta was different. I asked them to confirm with the kitchen if they could cook it separate. They did and it was great.

They understand GF, but you had best ask just to make sure they monitor the cross contamination.

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