|Photo courtesy Stella Rossa|
Leave it to Dave Magrogan to set out to improve that. The owner of Kildare's and Harvest has added a gluten-free menu at his new modern Italian wine bar Stella Rossa (929 Walnut St., 215-644-9074) across from Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. (The original location in Downingtown has been open since August.) The property was once a Marathon Grill and, most recently, Square Peg.
|Stella Rossa's gluten-free Margherita pizza|
At a recent dinner at the Philly location, my friend Chris and I began the meal with an Di Bruno Bros.-sourced antipasto ($14) comprised of several cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables and olives sans crostini. We previously turned away a basket of glutenous wheat bread, brought over before the staff was aware we were ordering from the gluten-free menu.
|The Fru Fru pizza is one of several specialty varieties|
The thin-crust pizzas were delicious, particularly the nutty Fru Fru, but were lukewarm temperature-wise. It's a chef's dilemma - cooking gluten-free pizzas in an aluminum pan typically results in uneven cooking, yet placing the pie on a screen to better absorb the heat might render the thin crust into a cracker.
Since the menu roll-out is so new, I'm optimistic the kitchen can experiment to find a happy medium with the pizza. After that, perhaps Magrogan and his team can work on a new concept: a gluten-free soft pretzel shop.