The hottest new eatery in the Lehigh Valley is right here in Hellertown, the 1774 Grille & Tap right on Main Street just one block south of the Municipal Building. I couldn’t wait to eat there, the on line menu looked amazing and there was a note that most things could be made gluten free as they are all cooked to order. Fantastic!
We were about five minutes late for our reservation and were urged to get a drink at the bar while we waited for our table. I had some Riesling that was quite tasty and my guy enjoyed an iced tea. The place was full of patrons: loud and hopping. It took about ten minutes for our table to be made ready but eventually we were placed by a window underneath a screen that displayed ever changing photographs; mostly old ones of Hellertown in years gone by, kinda fun to guess where and when they were taken.
Our waitress went over a short list of daily specials. It was tough to hear her in the crowded and noisy main dining room. Maybe they should put up some drapes to deaden the noise a bit…just a friendly suggestion. Anyway, I alerted her to my need to eat gluten free and she responded that one of the daily specials was gluten free and that the mahi mahi on the dinner menu was gluten free. Nothing else. I was a bit non-plussed as I remember the on line menu saying otherwise. So, with few options, I went with the mahi mahi and Joe had the halibut special so I could taste it. I was pleased to find that their gold and red beet salad was gluten free so I had that as my starter. Joe went with their Caesar salad. We both loved our salads although he was a bit surprised to find the salad greens to be kale. I couldn’t taste it due to the bread croutons but he loved the dressing and enjoyed every bite. My thinly sliced beets were delightful as was the fresh goat cheese. The pistachio vinaigrette was very discretely applied but I loved this salad. I have eaten similar salads in expensive big city restaurants and this was just as good as any I have ever enjoyed.
Our entrees made it out not long after we finished our salads. Joe’s halibut was a beautiful presentation, laid on top of extremely thin long slices of baby cucumber sprinkled with black sesame seeds with a jalapeño pepper dressing which was so mild I would have ordered it. Normally I find jalapeno pepper to increase the heat to a point where I am uncomfortable but the heat was quite lightly applied which made me happy and left Joe who loves the heat to be wondering where the fire was. I loved my bite of it; the cucumbers were sliced razor thin and seemed summertime fresh as was the fish. It was delightful with such a great clean taste. I think I need a whole portion of it next time!
I had a shallow bowl of miso broth with extremely fine rice noodles, lots of delightfully snifty smoked shiitake mushrooms and a large piece of mahi mahi, perfectly cooked and very tasty. The broth was delicate; but I didn’t really taste the ginger the menu mentioned. I think that would have kicked the flavor up one more notch! I shared some with Joe and still was barely able to finish it, leaving me too full for dessert. The only gluten free offering they had anyway was sorbet or ice cream. We passed on that and got our check.
Note: When I looked at the on- line menu later, that statement about any entrée being made specially gf was not to be found…weird.
I must compliment the restaurant on their wait staff; very friendly and ultra polite. Plus they were quick to get an ice tea refill and to deal with the check.
The décor is pleasingly antique-ish, the bar cozy and I hope the owners can figure out a way to lower the sound level just a bit. It was very busy and that definitely adds to the noise level. The joint was jumpin!
I would like to return when they have some other gluten free menu choices for me. My palate was all ready for either of their deliciously described lamb offerings or the duck breast or maybe the sautéed scallops. I was so disappointed that none were able to be made gluten free. I contacted the restaurant about that issue and am awaiting an answer. Maybe they will add some gf entrees for me to try… sure hope so! NOTE: see my update at the bottom of this post; good news!!
Note: I borrowed a few pictures of the restaurant from the net; I hope they will forgive me. This blog is not a huge commercial enterprise where I can go back to eat the same food again just to get a few great pictures and I wanted to liven up my post with some images of this new dining spot right here in my town.
UPDATE: I wasn’t contacted directly but I am informed that most of the menu can be made gluten free upon request. That is great news and I plan to go back at some point and enjoy a few things that tickled my fancy on the menu. My server misinformed me and now I wish I had asked to speak to the manager. Still, my meal was quite delicious. Their menu will be changing in a few weeks; it was a “winter” menu so I assume it will go to spring? Great; but I hope that the duck breast is still around when I find time to return to sample it.