For the most part I’ve gotten over my unease in asking for a gluten free menu, but it definitely reappears when a hostess hands me a colossal binder that makes people look and wonder. That said, there are four menu situations you can run into when dining out gluten free. First, there could be no gluten free menu at all and you have to try to talk to a waiter and/or chef and pray that there is no miscommunication, because there are few standards set in place, if any. Second, there can be a separate menu that you request, which clearly lists everything but is noticeably different looking than the standard menu. Third, there is a separate menu that you request that looks very similar to the standard; Outback falls into this category but it is rare. The fourth situation is when a gluten free menu is actually partitioned off or items are denoted with icons on the normal menu. I love this option! It is ideal in my opinion and P.F. Chang’s gluten free menu caught my attention because of it.
I enjoy Chinese food, but with main ingredients like soy sauce not being gluten free, it is something I am overly cautious about. P.F. Chang’s has a nice little system going though that I’ve been taking full advantage of when I am in the area. Aside from the built-in gf menu that doesn’t draw attention to me (always a plus in my book), they bring out gluten free versions of their customary sauces in distinguishable red condiment cups and put your food on distinct plates that are clearly labeled with the restaurant logo. There was actually a mix up with my Gluten Free Chang’s Spicy Chicken today. I knew it before seeing what food was actually being presented because the plate was unmistakably wrong. Knowing that standards like those are in place helped me feel more in control of the situation.
I wish more places would present their gf food on unique plates to keep the chefs, servers and customers on the same page. It is more likely that at some point in the chain, a problem would be noticed and therefore cut down on customers being glutened. Maybe this will become the norm in the future?