Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gluten Free Restaurant Review: CASONA in Collingswood NJ

If you have any kind of issue with gluten, and you happen to live less than an hour from Collingswood, New Jersey (about 10 minutes from Philadelphia), you absolutely MUST make a GF pilgrimage to Casona! Casona is a stylish little BYOB located on the main thoroughfare in Collingswood, NJ. Collingswood is actually a cool place to visit with loads of specialty shops, coffee houses, and restaurants serving a wide array of diverse ethnic and domestic cuisines.

My friend Brianna and I were starving when we arrived at the tail end of their lunch menu hours. We may have been the only ones in the place. The service was exceptional! Our waiter was amazing, and once we mentioned our "condition", it was obvious by the way he responded that he was fully informed about gluten issues.

Now before I talk about what we ordered, I must pay homage to the fact that Casona labels all their gluten free options with a "GF" beside the title of the dish. They also take great care to avoid cross-contamination. This is such an important characteristic of any restaurant looking to increase their GF customer base. It's such a load off of one's shoulders to not have to ask a million questions about the food one is to order. I just wish all restaurants were as aware and accommodating!

On to the food! The first thing we ordered for our appetizer was a plate of YUCA FRIES. Yuca fries are made from Yuca root. They come with a side of guacamole and a light horseradishy dipping sauce that packed a bit of a spicy kick. Brianna and I loved them! Yuca fries are a lot like regular potato fries, except that they are a bit more dense.

For the main dish I ordered the Habana Maduro, which was a ripened fried whole plantain filled with choice of seasoned chicken, ropa vieja or lechon topped with chihuahua cheese, sour cream sauce and chayote salad for $9.95. I chose the pulled flank steak (aka ropa vieja). Talk about a taste explosion!! Holy cow! I fell in love after the first bite:)

Brianna, also a vegetarian, ordered the Huevos Rancheros, which was corn tortilla with black beans, mixed cheese, avacado, pico de gallo, and two eggs any style with sour cream, avacado sauce and ranchero sauce for $10.95. She gave her dish rave reviews, and I would have tried it out for myself if I hadn't been so uncomfortably full from eating only half of my dish!

So if you're ever in the area, I urge you to check out Casona. You'll leave with a full belly and a smile on your face:)

Casona of Collingswood
563 Haddon
Collingswood, NJ 08108
(856) 854-5555

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