In the mood for unique and flavorful food? Check out Adams Morgan’s Las Canteras, a restaurant serving Peruvian cuisine. I went to Las Canteras for my friend, Phil’s, birthday a couple of months ago and had a delicious and gluten free meal, with no trace of contamination.
Phil goes to school with David so I knew that I would not know many of the people attending the dinner. As you know, anytime a large group of people goes out to dinner, particularly at an unfamiliar restaurant, a celiacs’ heart starts to race. All of the fears that accompany going out to eat are heightened: you don’t want to make a scene, but you also don’t want to be the weirdo that doesn’t eat anything either! I sometimes find myself getting stressed out even before the actual dinner. I continue to remind myself, however, that these feelings of discomfort are good, as it forces me to be assertive and try out new places.
Needless to say, I was a little nervous about this restaurant while simultaneously meeting some of these people for the first time. When I got to Las Canteras, a quaint restaurant that’s nearly hidden on 18th Street, I saw on the menu some dishes that could potentially work. While the waiter did not totally understand what I needed, he did not hesitate to get the manager who went through items of interest on the menu with me.
Many of the dishes at Las Canteras have rice and potatoes as the starch so that was comforting. Also, I found that the descriptions of the entrees on the actual menu were very informative. For example, one of the dishes said that beer was in the sauce so I knew immediately that I couldn’t have that. Ultimately I chose between the following three dishes:
Filet Mignion: A class cut of tender beef made with a Peruvian flair. Served with quinoa saute with shallots and grilled asparagus
Quinotto: A risotto-style dish made with quinoa, mushrooms and grated cheese. Served with or without shrimp.
Seco de Carne: Beef stew slow-cooked in a sauce of yellow pepper, paprika, onion and cilantro. Served with garlic rice and beans
I went with the Seco de Carne and I was not disappointed. The meat was so tender and all of the spices mixed perfectly with the dish. The beans and rice were flavorful and added texture. Even more importantly, I felt great after the meal and the following day. Always a victory! Other people ordered the same dish as I did and mine did not have to be modified at all in order to be gluten free. I always love it when people want the same dish I do. It makes me feel like I’m not missing out on something better!
I would recommend Las Canteras if you’re looking for a unique night out in the city. I’m eager to go back to Las Canteras and try the other two dishes that I was eying!
Side note: The wait staff and manager were definitely nice but they did not go out of their way to be overly accommodating and friendly. I’m ok with that though, because the food was delicious and turned out to be gluten free, just like they said it would be.