When you want to eat out for a special celebration it can be tough to find safe gluten free choices in the Lehigh Valley. One place I like is Hotel Bethlehem, I have eaten safely there three times. I agree it is a tad pricy but if you eat in the Tap Room as opposed to the fancy restaurant on the next level it is a bit more affordable but the atmosphere is still comfortably upscale, the servers are very pleasant and the food is excellent.
We recently went there for our anniversary. I was thrilled with every single moment of our visit. The hostess placed us at a romantic table for two right at the huge windows that look out on Main Street. It is right there in the picture I added to this post, courtesy of tripadvisor.com.
We were attended to immediately by a young man pouring cold water and our server showed up within a couple minutes. The menu had several options clearly marked gluten free. This marking on the menu is reassuring that they know what they are doing and are providing safe food for people like me. I told our server I had to have only gluten free food, she said they served lots of people who requested gluten free meals and that it was not a problem at all. Sounded reassuring.
I ordered the short ribs with potatoes and kale and we shared an appetizer of mussels in a balsamic and bacon vinaigrette. Joe got to eat the grilled bread that came with that but I did enjoy the tart little mussels. The house salad was pleasant and my white wine was even better. Then our entrees showed up and I was thrilled with the lovely beefy taste of my tender short ribs in a red wine sauce and how delightfully they went with the nice slab of creamy gratined potatoes and some still bright green sautéed kale. I was fearful that the potatoes might not be safe – that flour was used to thicken the sauce and we immediately doubled checked with our friendly server. She assured me that she had alerted the kitchen of my special needs when she placed my order and that my food was indeed gluten free. Her calming words allowed me to enjoy every mouthful of that meal. Joe enjoyed his salmon but I could see he was envying me the delightful short ribs and gratin. I didn’t rub it in and even gave him a bite of my meat. True love; sharing my short ribs!
We both had dessert. Mine was a scoop of Penn State Creamery mint ice cream studded with flecks of dark chocolate. Great flavors and mouth feel and so creamy….ice cream perfection! Joe had a chocolate mini cake with a berry sauce and some whipped cream– nice but I think I came away the winner.
There was a wedding going on in the ball room but it only occasionally slightly intruded with some boisterous cheering. The service was excellent; the manager even stopped by to ask what we ordered and how we enjoyed our meals. Tasty and safe (read gluten free for us celiacs) food in a lovely setting. Keep it in mind next time you need a special place to eat out safely. I’m still reliving that wonderful combination of short ribs and gratined potatoes.
PS: sorry no pictures of my meal, I was not in writing mode and didn’t think of writing about the restaurant until dinner was long over.