Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saranello's Wheeling

Saranello's is one of the Lettuce Entertain You corp restaurants in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. They opened in the Westin Convention center and hotel in the fall of 2011. Named in memory of one of their partners who lost her life to cancer that year. Most of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurants do offer a gluten free menu of some sorts, some more comprehensive than others, but generally a good selection made by good chef's. 

I recently dined there as part of a party for a friend. I had heard from some other friends previously to be ready for the super slow service and absent wait staff, so I wasn't too excited, but figured a night with friends it wouldn't be so bad. I checked the menu online the day before and decided that the one pasta dish option that was listed would suffice, since the prices were pretty steep from there.

There had to have been one or two weddings going on, as well as a winter dance type party, and being a hotel, and 3 other restaurants there, besides using the valet there was No Where To Park! Being winter in Chicago it was brutal finding parking and walking back. Once inside it was super loud and bustling with people, but sounded like a fun environment. Once they brought out the gluten Free menu I was excited to see another option, of the Shrimp Diablo. I checked with the waitress if it was really hot, she said no, that I could get it with any sauce I wanted. Great!

A few of the other party guests wanted appetizers, at this point I could see where the slow service kicked in, we'd been there 30 minutes and all I had was a glass of wine, and getting pretty hungry. Giving in and picking an appetizer we opted to try the Parmesan-Crusted Onions. I have to say WOW! These were fabulous, and I need to learn how to make these at home. The waitress came out and explained that all pastas are made fresh by hand each day, and that nothing is frozen. (That doesn't explain why we never seem to see her, unless she's making the pasta in back....) 

I ordered the Shrimp Diablo, with vodka sauce, she got very nervous and told me she thought there was flour in the vodka sauce. I asked if she could confirm and let me know my options, since nothing is designated well on the gluten free menu. She was able to confirm that my pasta that day would be linguine. My meal came out with the vodka sauce, and she seemed sure then, that it was fine.

I can't be certain of being glutened, I didn't feel great when we finished eating and I had to excuse myself to the bathroom, at the opposite end of the restaurant, up a flight and half of stairs; that I felt bad for the person who got the stall after me. Though they were nice private stalls so I could feel less embarrassed by my issue. If not glutened, bad shrimp? I didn't have any lingering stomach issues the next day, I didn't feel dizzy or light headed, just didn't agree with my stomach.... They did have dessert options but after a nice 10 minutes in the loo, I passed on dessert. Plus we sat down at 7:30 and now it was almost 10:00!

I give them 2 dragonflies, this is probably the worst rating I have ever given any Lettuce Entertain You establishment. Normally great service, great food, and great atmosphere top their list of ways to present themselves. Personally if I go back, I want the appetizer of the Parmesan-onions again, and a salad, hold the shrimp. 

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