Category Archives: Back Bay

Haru Sushi

I’ve been to Haru twice now. The first time I went with friends we ordered off the Haru Hour Menu. This is great if you are trying to save money and have fresh sushi. From 3-7pm, everyday they offer discounted rolls and appetizers such as Edamame ($4), Tuna Roll ($3), Tuna Avocado Caviar Roll ($5), and a few other gluten free safe rolls. 
I had the Tuna Avocado Caviar Roll and theSalmon Jalapeño Roll ($6.75) from the regular dinner menu. It was hot. I was daring and tried it and I liked it but I needed 5 glasses of water after I ate it. Of course, Erica loved it and it didn’t affect her quite as much. 
Haru also has gluten free soy sauce served in a special container marked on the top with a white Japanese character, which, I’m going out on a limb here, but would guess it means “gluten free”. 

The second time I ate at Haru was last week with my dad and sister. Katie had a $20 Birthday Certificate, which anyone can sign up to receive and I highly recommend you doing it! Sign up here.
Yes, we ate everything!
As an appetizer we had the Ceviche ($12.75). It was delicious, made of citrus-marinated tuna, salmon and whitefish (you can have all three, you don’t have to choose one so don’t let the menu fool you), with grape tomatoes, red onion, avocado and green apples. I really enjoyed this, I loved the citrus flavor.
Strawberry Fin Special Roll ($16.75). Spicy yellowtail (hold the crunchy!), jalapeno peppers and mango topped with scallops, wasabi tobiko and fresh strawberries. This combination really peeked our curiosity.  Strawberries? Jalapenos? I would never have thought of mixing all these ingredients, but it was great. Extremely flavorful and fresh, it had a kick to it from the jalapenos.
My favorite roll, by far, is the Gramercy Park Roll ($18). Spicy super white tuna and jalapenos, wrapped with tuna, yellowtail and salmon and topped with lemon, cilantro and tobiko. Again this roll has a “crunchy” ingredient they left out, as tempura flakes are not gluten free. Our waitress also brought the yuzu miso sauce on the side, also not gluten free, and also not very good. We all tried the sauce and none of us liked it. But the roll was amazing. I couldn’t taste the jalapeno like the first roll, but I could taste the cilantro and loved how fresh it was. 
Sweet Potato roll ($6). Usually it is is fried in tempura, but the waitress offered to make it steamed instead. I’ve had it without tempura before and it was delicious, cooked nicely – soft and tender. This sweet potato roll was not so great, the sweet potato was undercooked and it was a bit hard.
At the end of our meal when our waitress gave us the bill she asked us if we were from Boston. After we said yes she handed each of us a Mystery Envelope. She explained that inside each envelope was a gift certificate to Haru worth anywhere from $5 to $500 and you can’t open it until the next time you come back, and the Manager must be the one to open it. Well of course we are coming back! Even if we only have $5, it would be worth it to get a roll or two from the Haru Hour menu or one of the more expensive rolls, because it would really be $5 off. She told us we could use two during one visit, as long as we had separate checks…um…OK!
The service was good, our waitress was very friendly and attentive. She was so knowledgeable about gluten I really liked that. It can be hard at Japanese or other ethnic restaurants (even American restaurants) to find serves who really know what gluten it is and are that knowledgeable about the menu they can answer every question. Now, if only we could teach the rest of American’s and people in the restaurant industry what gluten is and what it’s in, we would have a much easier dinning experience. 
Location: 55 Huntington Ave., Boston
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Forum

Last week I won a gift certificate to Forum. I’m not sure how because I don’t remember signing up for their mailing list. I was excited though, because I’ve been wanting to try it ever since it opened, about 2 years ago. So I decided to take my dad. 
It was a hot and extremely muggy day and we weren’t overly hungry so we decided to share a salad and entrée and a side and call it a meal.
The Grilled Shrimp Salad ($12) is now one of my favorite dishes in Boston. It comes with four decent sized grilled shrimp on top of a coleslaw-like jicama, avocado, and mango with a chimichurri dressing. It was to die for! It had a great kick from the cilantro – in the chimichurrti – beautifully presented and not overly dressed. The table next to use, the only other occupied table outside, ordered the Steak and Tomato Salad, which also looked to die for! 
The drink list looked really interesting, but seeing I had just walked 3.5 miles with my dad all I really wanted was an ice water and iced tea.
As an entrée we ordered the Salmon, I called that one the second I looked at the menu. My dad orders salmon 99% of the time we eat out. It had a crispy skin and was served on a bed of mixed pan roasted vegetables – brussel sprouts, green beans and carrots. Very oily. It was topped with an harissa sauce; hot peppers, garic, coriander, red chili peppers, and carway. Our waiter explained this to us, we had no idea what harissa was, and it was not spicy at all. I have a very low tolerance and I didn’t find it spicy, and it was so just so so, kind of bland. The salmon was cooked almost to perfection, I like mine a little bit more on the rare side. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but was it worth $26? No. For $26 I expected a delicious, savoring, full of flavor, melts in my mouth, piece of salmon. 

We also ordered a side of fingerling potatoes. Why? I don’t know, ask my dad. These were way over salted. And cost $5, really? I thought it was going to be a substitute for the couscous the salmon dish originally comes with, but we were wrong. My dad ate them so not all was lost. 
We left feeling full but not that gross overly stuffed feeling. I hate that. Would I recommend Forum? I would recommend having a drink and the Shrimp Salad. I’m glad we had the gift  certificate because I do not think it was worth as much as they were charging, especially with Atlantic Fish right next door, who knows how to cook a piece of fish. 
On the other hand, they do have gf buckwheat pancakes on their brunch menu. If I ever feel like paying $13 for pancakes – maybe a special occasion – I would like to try these.
Location: 755 Boylston Street, Boston

Charley’s

Gluten free bread, pizza and pasta! Heaven! Not the most gourmet, but great bar food and perfect for lunch! I have not been for dinner but I would love to try the pizza! Charley’s is owned by the Back Bay Restaurant Association, which also owns Joe’s American Bar & Grill, Papa Razzi (Boston location does not have bread; Chestnut Hill does) Atlantic Fish (they do not always carry gf pasta so call ahead so they know to have it for you), Abe & Louie’s, and Coach Grill, all of which have gluten free menu options! I have eaten at 3 of the 5 locations, Abe & Louie’s will be next..some day…
As this was the afternoon after my 25th birthday we first ordered Bloody Mary’s, you know why. The bartender made them with Absolut (* see bottom for information on Absolut and other gluten free vodkas). I am not sure if he did this on purpose (knowing that absolute has no gluten) or by chance. BUT either way, it worked out, and the drinks were good, spicy but not too spicy. If you do want a spicier drink make sure to ask for the Absolute Pepper.
For lunch I ordered the Chicken Club Sandwich with French fries. The Sandwich was HUGE! It was good. Not gourmet by any means but definitely satisfied my cravings for a sandwich and fries. I had wanted one for weeks! The french fries are pan fried separately to make sure they weren’t contaminated with gluten (this is why they look a little different from the ”regular” french fries).
The bread was crumbly and fell apart easily, I had to eat half the sandwich with a fork. But it tasted decent; not the best, but I would eat this bread again. It was so nice to be able to enjoy a sandwich and fries at the bar watching the red sox game. I can’t remember the last time I did that and was not envious of my boyfriend eating a sandwich or French fries in front of my while I had to order an omelette or salad or plain grilled chicken.
We sat at the downstairs bar because we didn’t want to wait 20 minutes for a table. If it had been a nice day I would have liked to have sit outside. The upstairs has more character and a better ambiance than downstairs. But for two people who were hungry and a bit tired we were satisfied being downstairs. 
I also know that they will substitute the gluten free bread for the English Muffins on their Brunch Menu. The management and wait staff here are one of the best I have encountered when it comes to accommodating and pleasing people with gluten allergies and it is very much appreciated 🙂
Location: 284 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02115
Gluten Free Vodka– Smirnoff (non flavored – need to verify flavored Smirnoff), Absolut Vodka, Zodiac, Cold River. Most vodka is made from potato or corn. Grain vodkas are also ok since they are distilled and the gluten is removed. BUT some people still react, so you need to be careful if you are highly sensitive or allergic!!
Statement from Absolut:
Absolut
The ingredients for ABSOLUT VODKA are grain (wheat), enzymes, yeast (S. cerevisiae) and water from our own well. For the flavoured versions, only natural ingredients from berries, fruits and spices are used.
The gluten is removed in the production process since the spirit is first fermented and then distilled hundreds of times. We call this continuous distillation, a process so efficient that it eliminates the need for filtration. The crude spirit passes continually through a total of six columns. This gives full control of distillation at every stage and removes all impurities. This strict distillation process separates the gluten in the grain from the alcohol, why it is highly unlikely that any gluten remains in ABSOLUT VODKA.
The question of possible residues of allergens in distilled spirits has been reviewed by the European Food Safety Agency. On the basis of this and other information, the EU Commission concludes that grain used before distillation does not need an allergen warning (Commission Directive 2007/68/EC).
We know allergic reactions can be caused by very small amounts (or even traces) of ingredients. We are not in a position to guarantee that the flavour ingredients have not come into contact with gluten during the suppliers’ production processes. Since any medical advice should be given on a personal basis by a medical expert, we can not recommend persons suffering from allergies to consume our flavoured products.