Posted by: rebeccajrobare | June 26, 2011

Chifa

I did not know that my second blog post would be a restaurant review.  However, it is warranted by the amazing experience I just had at Philadelphia’s Chifa. I went with my boyfriend and his parents as a sort of late Father’s Day celebration.

Chifa is Latin-Asian fusion, and the menu was full of things I had never heard of.  So in a first for me, I identified myself to the waitress as having a problem with wheat. She excused herself and came back with the restaurant’s gluten-free menu — which had on it at least half of the regular menu.  We looked at the gluten-free menu and the regular menu, which included the option of a chef’s tasting menu. The waitress was pleased to inform us that we could have a gluten-free tasting menu, so we chose to try that.

A wonderful gastronomic experience followed. First we had bread made of yuca flour, which was warm and tasted wonderful with the spicy butter served with it. We had a salad made of green beans, edamame, and quesa fresca, followed by Peruvian-style ceviche. Then there was an oyster with tomato and avocado for each of us, and wonderful mussels that had been steamed in coconut milk and Thai spices. We had grilled rock octopus, spicy cantonese eggplant, humita (a corn tamale served with mushrooms), and some beautiful chicken. When the rest of the table was brought pork belly bao buns, I was given a thai sausage in tamarind sauce. When anything came to the table that had gluten in it, such as plantain chips, they were served on the side and I was told clearly what the gluten-containing item was.  For dessert we had pannacotta served with grapefruit, and when my boyfriend mentioned that he can’t eat grapefruit (not expecting to find it here, we hadn’t mentioned it at the start of the meal), they swiftly brought him a plain one. The other dessert, a chocolate cake, did contain gluten, but I was given as a substitute passion-fruit ice cream, which tasted like fresh passion fruit.

Throughout the evening, the service was accommodating and pleasant. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a waitress smile so much. Every consideration was given to my dietary need and equal attention given to my enjoyment of the experience. You can be sure I thanked the waitress a number of times, and asked that my regards be given to the chef who was going to such effort. This was an A-plus experience on all levels. I highly recommend Chifa to anyone living in or visiting Philadelphia, especially if you need accommodation for celiac disease or food allergies.

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