Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Picky Eater's Guide to Reeds American Table

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge The entry to Reeds American Table. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • The entry to Reeds American Table.

Of all possible dining experiences, a nice dinner out is often the most difficult for those with dietary restrictions — particularly when a restaurant’s menu is structured in courses and there isn’t an entrée that fits into your diet. On many menus, a special evening out seems to require both meat and breading. When those are off limits, it can be tough to enjoy your meal and not feel like a total pain to the waiter and chef.


While Reeds American Table (7322 Manchester Road) doesn’t have a huge menu, there are enough options to make just about everyone happy.

click to enlarge The menu at Reeds isn't overly large, but there's enough variety to please most diners. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • The menu at Reeds isn't overly large, but there's enough variety to please most diners.

For those who remember and loved Home Wine Kitchen, its predecessor in the space, Reeds American Table doesn’t seem so different at first glance. The set-up of the restaurant is essentially the same. But when you see the bold mural filling one wall, the gorgeous industrial-chic bar with its gleaming subway tile, and hear Dr. Dre over the speakers, it becomes clear that this is definitely a new restaurant — Home’s cooler younger brother, perhaps.

Reeds doesn’t take reservations. It can be a bit noisy. The seats aren’t the most comfortable in the world. These are the piddling complaints we had after an evening there. The service was excellent, and the food was delicious, wonderful, even delightful. Read on for our take on its vegetarian, gluten-free and paleo options.

click to enlarge A cheese plate with Flory's Truckle cheese. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • A cheese plate with Flory's Truckle cheese.

Vegetarian:
We started with a cheese – Flory’s Truckle – that was accompanied by crackers, apple butter and candied almonds, and followed that up with the beet salad, which was just okay. The beets could have a bit more tender and had a bit more seasoning.

There is only one vegetarian large plate, but that’s fine with us; we’d have it every day if we could. The ratatouille is a baked pasta dish with vegetables and a tomato sauce, covered in cheese and baked until it’s crispy around edges and bubbly delicious in the middle. It’s hard to top that dish, but the dessert does the trick. We went with the apple-date crisp topped with ginger ice cream, and on a chilly fall evening, it was just about perfect.

click to enlarge Baked ratatouille. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Baked ratatouille.

Gluten-free:
To start, there are several cheeses to choose from as well as a gluten-free “snack” of pickled carrots. All three salads (beet, apple and shaved kale) are gluten-free. Gluten-free small plates include roasted cauliflower, braised beef cheek (minus focaccia), pork belly and curry mussels (minus the bread that comes on the side).

For large plates, choose from grilled teres major with a side of broccoli rabe; lamb sugo with olives, orange, mint and parsley; and pork steak with braised collard greens and white beans. For dessert, there are roasted pears, a chocolate torte, and several ice cream and sorbet options.

click to enlarge Smoked beet salad with whipped ricotta. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Smoked beet salad with whipped ricotta.

Paleo:
Snacks include spiced nuts and pickled carrots. There’s a smoked beet salad, apple salad and shaved kale salad, all of which are paleo if ordered without cheese. Paleo small plate options are roasted cauliflower and pork belly. For large plates choose from the grilled teres major with broccoli rabe and a tomato and potato puree; lamb sugo with olives, orange, mint and parsley; and pork steak with braised collard greens and white beans. For dessert, there’s lemon or apple-cider sorbet.

Kids: We’d recommend a babysitter rather than bringing the little one(s) along. This food may be a little too sophisticated for young palates. 

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