Our family is pretty close knit and small. My immediate family is just four of us. Going further out my parents each only have a couple siblings, and only a couple cousins. So we don't tend to make a big pomp and circumstance for most holidays. We will do more low key one on one events where we do dinner out and everyone can get what they want, the way they want. The nice thing is then it's also a good way to meet everyone's dietary needs, or wants.
The last several Thanksgivings we've done dinner out at McCormick and Schmick's. They generally are known for their seafood dishes, but they do a fabulous Thanksgiving Turkey dinner, and they can accommodate the meal to be prepared gluten free. Ok, so there is no stuffing or gravy, but I can live without one of the two, and we can make a box of Glutino's stuffing to have with dinner some other night! It still tastes good on days other than Thanksgiving!! Though after the last 2 years we are considering moving to Coopers Hawk for Thanksgiving next year, but not because of the food; because dinner for 4 shouldn't be a 2 1/2 hour meal!
Last year we had a reservation for 6:00 at the Skokie location. We showed up at 5:45 and were seated at 6:45. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't a cattle round up at the door of everyone waiting for their tables, and the rain made it so cold and miserable. This year we went back to Oak Brook and did a reservation at 5:00,we were seated right when we walked in. (Yay!) Though it was so cold in the restaurant I had my jacket on my shoulders and my scarf on my lap to stay warm! They don't do a gluten free menu, but the hostess advised me that the waiters are trained in what is and isn't gluten free. Our server must have missed that memo. We right away told him we wanted the Thanksgiving dinner, gluten free and he stared at us blankly. We also asked what appetizers were gluten free. We had debated a few options but wanted to make sure. He recommended the Firecracker Shrimp which have pepper jack cheese and bacon on them. We asked if those could be done gluten free, he responded, "I don't know, can you have cheese? They have cheese on them." FAIL! Finally after going and talking to the kitchen staff he figured out they are ok, but we had decided on the crab tower to be safe.
We put in our order for dinner and laughed because we finished our wine, and were sitting there freezing waiting for dinner, then our salads came out, we finished those and waited, and waited. We got dinner, and my plate seemed fine, it didn't have the stuffing for sweet potatoes, but this time I was given cranberries (yes that cup that's cut off in the photo is cranberries)! normally they remove the cranberries as well. Everything was prepared well, and tasted really good, but my turkey was cold. I decided to not rock the boat it was already 6:45 so I didn't want to send my plate back. I got a Creme brulee for dessert, which was fabulous. I could go there for drinks and dessert.
Is that not an amazing looking Creme Brulee? It's not pumpkin or apple pie, but those were at home in the fridge!
Over all they did a good job on the meal. Execution of staff knowledge, not so much, it left me a little dry. I don't like not having a menu to look over and know what to expect. Knowing that they can make Thanksgiving gluten free is a great planning advantage, though we are looking into other options for next year, but that was based 100% on our never ending meal! If we look at the execution of just Thanksgiving dinner, they get 4 dragonflies from me. If we look at the full menu and the upfront staff knowledge, and how long it took to eat, they only get 3 dragonflies.