Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Cure for the Common Meal

Tucked away on the corner of a West Philadelphia intersection, Rx (4443 Spruce Street, 215-222-9590) rests on the fringes of University City. I dined at the New American BYO with five members of the recently formed Gluten-Free Supper Club during last month's three-course, $25 neighborhood "restaurant week."

Elements of the building's former life as an apothecary loom in the relatively small dining area. Without having to check with the kitchen, our server knew off the bat which appetizers and entrees were safe for the diners. Four of the five starters were gluten free, and I savored the creamy vegetable gazpacho. Other options included a beets-and-strawberries plate and two different salads.

Rx's Atlantic Salmon Filet
The aromatic tomato polenta side gave the juicy bone-in organic braised chicken I ordered a Mediterranean flair. Others at the table enjoyed the Atlantic salmon, served perched atop chopped tomato and fennel. Although no one ordered it, the French-style shellfish stew  - with mussels, shrimp and squid in a saffron broth - could have been served sans couscous.

Vanilla Crème Brûlée
Dessert was a treat, with options that included a vanilla crème brûlée, caramel-drizzled rice pudding, buttermilk panna cotta served with locally sourced berries, and a trio of house-made ice creams.

The dinner provided our group with an opportunity to swap stories and experiences in a comfortable setting, one where gluten-free customers can feel assured that both kitchen and staff understand their needs.The meal, like the evening's conversation, was delightful.

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