This past week I was in New York and I had a chance to eat at Tao for the first time. Tao has a very chic atmosphere and is known for attracting celebrities. The giant Buddha in the middle of the restaurant is somewhat of a tourist attraction in and of itself.
Since Tao is out of my budget, I decided to go for lunch and check out their daily prix-fixe menu which is available Monday through Saturday for $29.50. Unfortunately the lunch menu does not explicitly say what is gluten free, but my waiter was very helpful to point out what would be safe for me. He also brought over a manager who confirmed those were indeed the gluten free options.
As an appetizer, I got the satay of chicken with peanut sauce. It came with three pieces of chicken which were mouth-watering – especially when dipped in the peanut sauce.
For entree, I ordered the sesame seared tuna salad. Honestly, this was not my favorite and I wouldn’t have picked this, but I was told it was the only gluten free option besides sushi. The tuna was very rare for my taste, and the salad was a little exotic for me. I mostly picked at it.
Lastly, for dessert, I chose the mango sorbet, seasonal fruit and coconut milk. The sorbet was served in a bowl filled to the top with coconut milk and pieces of fruit floating in it. It was fresh, light, and delicious.
I left Tao mostly pleased with my choices and happy to have had a chance to eat at such a “hot spot.” Unfortunately, several hours later I got extremely sick. To be honest, it might have been the fact that after lunch I went and walked around Central Park for three hours in 85 degree temperatures. However, upon further reflection, I do think I was glutened at Tao. In fact, when I examined the menu at Tao Las Vegas which does state gluten free options, I noticed that the chicken satay with peanut sauce is not gluten free. It could’ve also been the tuna that made me sick, I’ll never know. Honestly, I guess I should’ve asked more questions, but I was in a famous restaurant in one of the biggest cities in the world so I assumed that surely they understood gluten free. Not to mention that I didn’t just ask my waiter, I asked to confirm the gluten free options with the manager. Trust me, I learned my lesson – there are no guarantees when I eat out, even at famous restaurants.
The bottom line is that Tao is a very cool restaurant, but if you’re a celiac, I would be very careful. I would love to hear if anyone has had a similar experience at Tao or at any other well-known restaurants.