Whether you’ve adopted a gluten-free diet for a healthier lifestyle or because you are gluten intolerant, finding great restaurants that offer diverse gluten-free menus can be pretty challenging. Most people don’t look forward to picking from three or so gluten-free dishes set aside from the entire menu. People like having a wide range of choices and Chef/Owner Dan Scherotter offers exactly that. At his Italian restaurant Palio d’Asti, Scherotter serves up his philosophy of serving traditional dishes that are naturally gluten-free and foods that aren’t fiddled around with.
Upon arriving at Palio I instantly sensed that this place takes Italian cuisine seriously. Naturally, I found the Fall gluten-free menu very true to tradition. Nothing on this seasonal menu seemed thrown on it just because it was gluten-free. Palio’s gluten-free menu is almost as extensive as the full menu and offers tons of choices per course. There’s appetizers, soups, large salads, main dishes and this past season featured polenta dishes. Me and a friend arrived for lunch and were really excited to try out gluten-free dishes since it was both our first time. We decided to start with their scallop and foie gras appetizers. Two of my favorite things on a gluten-free menu? Definitely a great start. We ordered the pan-roasted day scallops with lemony braised escarole, toasted sesame seeds and Sicilian caviar. This was a great way to start our meal. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the lemony braised escarole was amazingly buttery and complimented the scallops very well.
I was huge fan of this! The fegato grasso was the hazelnut-crusted seared Sonoma foie gras. It was served with balsamic glazed cipollini onions and shredded radicchio. I’ve never had foie gras served this way and didn’t really know what to expect, but it was great! Definitely a recommendation. For my main dish I went with the spiced braised beef short ribs with caramelized cipollini onions over their signature polenta. Polenta is a prized dish at Palio’s. Most people don’t know that polenta is naturally gluten-free! Palio’s polenta is a blend of corn and buckwheat made with brown butter, sage and parmigiano reggiano. Overall, it’s to die for. The short ribs were awesome and the gravy paired with the polenta was extremely satisfying.
My friend got the warm seafood salad with frisée, fennel, scallions, sweet peppers, and Yukon gold potatoes. The medley of seafood was great. It consisted of calamari, prawns, fish and braised octopus all in a vinaigrette. If you aren’t looking for a super hearty dish, this warm salad is the way to go. It’s fresh and light but definitely filling. Naturally we each had to get dessert. We shared the panna cotta made with buttermilk and brown sugar topped with roasted red grapes and a Pinot Noir reduction and a rustic apple cinnamon pie with caramel sauce. Both were amazing! While the apple pie is not gluten-free, the panna cotta is a killer option.
Palio’s is an ideal destination for authentic Italian cooking the way it is done in Italy. Scherotter serves real Italian food because he believes people come for real Italian food, not some gluten-free version of what doesn’t taste as good. He says his gluten-free menus “solve the gluten-problem the authentic way.” Nothing is better than experience authentic cuisine, especially if you are accustom to substitutes. Palio d’Asti recently released their spring menu featuring an assortment of grilled items. It’s quite exciting and I’m looking forward to try it! The Grigliata Mista alla Primavera includes a choice fish, lamb or beef accompanied by grilled asparagus and sweet peppers. As for the rest of the menu Scherotter finds all the gluten-free choices to be appropriate of a traditional Italian spring-time menu. Among his many favorites is the braised lemon chicken with baby artichokes served over their perfected polenta. Palio’s is great for all meals of the day with any crowd, gluten-intolerant or not.