200 W. 57th Street (on 7th Ave.)
Let’s be honest. The hedonic treadmill we are on creates the desire for more than just Chinese food with a gluten-free soy sauce substitute. We also want crispy fried gluten-free Chinese favorites to go with our gluten-free fried rice.
Well, you can thank our fellow celiac, Vanessa Phillips, for bringing quality gluten-free Chinese food back to Manhattan. While you are at it, thank her restaurateur parents and their business partners for working with Vanessa to create many gluten-free dining options around the city. (We’ll keep you posted as more tasty surprises at their other restaurant locations are being planned.) For now they have started with Lilli & Loo, a Chinese restaurant with a contemporary design and a new gluten-free menu!
The Borneo Orange Chicken (above) stole the show. Two different gluten gluttons with me couldn’t get enough of this crispy white meat with spicy mandarin orange sauce. Mine was made corn-free with an arrowroot flour batter.
Other than a few traditional rice based pastries to be found in Chinatown, it has seemed as if there was a Great Wall of gluten and corn barring me from enjoying Chinese food like I remember in my pre-gf days. Sure, there is PF Chang’s in the suburbs and there was Gourmet Land for a short while here in the city, and I thank them for all that they have done gluten-free, but with my additional corn allergy (Gluten-free soy sauce has corn alcohol in it and a lot of Chinese food sauces contain corn starch.) there still weren’t a lot of options for me at these places. If you have the same issue, call Maggie the co-owner, a few hours before you plan to visit and she’ll make sure you get your food corn-free!
The classic dish of shrimp fried rice is always appreciated.
I’m usually not very excited about spring rolls, but these Saigon rolls were a pleasant surprise. The fresh ingredients combined with the spicy mint dipping sauce was delicious!
View of the bar at Lilli & Loo. (Design junkies should check out the bathroom. I love the contrast of rustic wood with modern fixtures along with the smart placement of the garbage with a foot pedal right next to the door. So clean! AND, the toilet seat has a special hinge so it doesn’t slam shut! I want one! )
Another great thing about Lilli & Loo is the convenient location after a hard day of shopping at Bloomingdale’s , a visit to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, or a stroll around Central Park. I personally plan on stopping by often for an easy take-out option after work.
Thanks to the kind group of people behind the gluten-free menu at Lilli & Loo the fond memories of eating leftover Chinese food out of the carton for breakfast can be relived in real time again and again!
For more photos and experiences from Lilli & Loo check out:
Cat at Gluten-Free Guide
Sloane at Allergic Girl