A couple of nights ago I made my first foray into dining out at allergy-friendly establishments. My friends Matthew, Gilbert and I met up in the West Village of New York City to dine at Wild, an almost exclusively gluten-free restaurant specializing in pizza. Right off the bat we encountered two harbingers of good things to come: we were immediately seated at a comfortable table in which no other tables had to be manipulated like a game of tetris in order to allow us to sit, which is pretty rare for small establishment in the West Village. Secondly, the already reasonably-priced wine was very healthily poured. Things we’re going our way!
I conducted a small amount of research on Wild before going for dinner. The story of how the restaurant came to be is a familiar one: the founder began experiencing recurring stomach aches that led her to make significant dietary changes, and when nobody else was making pizza that could suit all diets, Wild was born! The restaurant uses gluten-free flours and tomato sauces, hormone-free cheeses and meats, and serves a seasonal menu – all of these things, I am learning, really do enhance the flavor as you’re eating, and leave you feeling nourished and recharged instead of sluggish and overly full.
Now, on to the food! Matthew and I both opted for pizza, as one does at an establishment that specializes in pizza. Gilbert, always the contrarian, went for chicken parmesan over spaghetti. Both the pasta and the breading on the chicken were gluten-free. Gilbert declared the pasta well-cooked, which I can attest to as I snuck a bite. I would never have been able to tell that it was gluten-free, which is not always the case. Even a good sauce can’t hide hide a mushy or grainy pasta made without gluten. And though I did not try the chicken, Gilbert maintains that it was perfectly crunchy.
Matthew ordered a pizza loaded with eggplant, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and goat cheese, and topped with arugula. I chose a wild mushroom truffle pizza, served with ricotta and herbs and also topped with arugula. We had similar experiences with our pizzas, which is to say that we both loved them. The ingredients were undeniably fresh and the crust was super thin and perfectly crunchy. The only hang-up I can foresee for anybody else would be a love of thicker crust on pizza, but even then I think Wild’s pizza could probably make a convert out of most people. Needless to say, Wild gets three thumbs up and a ringing endorsement for anybody looking for gluten-free, fresh pizza and pasta while in New York City.