During the holidays, I like to think I have some amount of control in over what I can safely eat, because even if I am attending someone else’s dinner party, I know that at least the dish I bring, I can eat. But for Christmas Eve this year (or technically, last year) my dad announced that he had made dinner reservations for Murphy’s, in Virginia Highlands, in Atlanta. I had not been there before so I had an immediate weary feeling, but he assured me he asked them if they were able to accommodate someone who was gluten-free, and they said yes. And for once, I decided I would look at the menu beforehand, but beyond that I was not going to stress and if worse came to worse, I would get a salad.
The day of the dinner, I ate a yogurt before we left, as I usually do before going to a new restaurant, just in case my options are limited. For Christmas Eve, the restaurant was impressively full, but thankfully we had reservations and a table waiting for us. As soon as the server arrived, I asked her a few questions so I could gauge my comfort level with the restaurants knowledge on gluten-free diets. Thankfully, she seemed extremely knowledgeable and even brought up the idea of cross-contamination to me, and what items were not safe because they may be fried with something that contains gluten, or a sauce that contains soy sauce or beer (rather than me having to educate her). She also said they regularly get gluten-free diners, and if I had a question she was not 100% about, she would ask the chef. She made me feel extremely at ease and I felt like I could really enjoy this meal.
I started out with the field greens salad with goat cheese, and no croutons, which was refreshing and tasty. For my main course, the server assured me they can make changes to most dishes to make them gluten-free, except for a few obvious exceptions. I decided to go with Atlantic salmon steak with horseradish mashed potatoes, leeks, pistachios and a orange, chipotle vinaigrette (pictured above). It was absolutely amazing, the flavors worked perfectly together, and just thinking about it now, I wish I could go back and have the same meal all over again. Those two courses paired with a couple glasses of wine, and I felt extremely lucky to be able to enjoy a delicious meal with my family without feeling like I was missing out. Of course I could not eat any bread from the fresh bread baskets they gave the table, but honestly I would not have wanted to fill up on bread and not be able to eat the real starts of the meal.
Just when I didn’t think it could get get any better, the server gave us our dessert menus. Usually dessert is not even a thought for me, unless I am craving ice cream, but then she went ahead and told us of the special, a flourless chocolate cake with almonds and hazelnuts, served with a chocolate sauce and dark chocolate ice cream (pictured to the right). She confirmed with the chef that is was gluten-free, and I decided to indulge. And even with all of the gluten-filled desserts around the table mine won the tastiest dessert, it was fantastic and creative. The texture and flavor combination of the hazelnuts and almonds were perfect, and I think this has become one of my favorite desserts that I have had here since moving to Atlanta.
Whether going for a special occasion or just for weekend brunch, Murphy’s is a excellent choice, and one that someone following a gluten-free diet can feel safe.