Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bravo! Cucina Italiana - Grandview Heights

I think a lot of gluten-free diners miss pasta. I'm not saying I miss it as much as I miss regular pizza, but it's up there. Pasta is such a comforting, filling food that seems to find its way into a lot of special events. My Grandma's macaroni and cheese is a staple at Hill family gatherings. I also remember how excited I used to be when my high school cross country team would have pasta nights two days before a race, or when we'd stop at Fazoli's on our way home from a race. One of my favorite meals my mom would make when I was a kid was spaghetti. When I was a vegetarian in high school and college she switched from using a meat based sauce to a vegetable sauce so I could enjoy the pasta too. Now she makes my own batch of macaroni and cheese or lasagna with gluten-free noodles for family gatherings. Pasta is wonderful and it was definitely one of the top foods I missed when going gluten-free. I'm really glad that there are restaurants offering gluten-free pasta!

Prior to eating at Bravo! for the first time a few weeks ago, I'd only had gluten-free pasta at two restaurants: Rusty Bucket and Olive Garden. Both have great gluten-free options and their pasta is pretty tasty. A fellow gluten-free friend of mine, Sarai McCulley, suggested I eat at Bravo! for their gluten-free pasta, which she prefers over Olive Garden. I couldn't wait to try it out!

Kenneth and I went to Bravo! with some of our friends from Vet School (Who are now doctors, just like Kenneth! Congrats Susie and Katie!).

I thought the restaurant was really lovely, I don't normally pay that much attention to the decor of a restaurant (especially when I'm excited about a gluten-free menu I haven't sampled from yet!), but the interior of Bravo! caught my eye. It's a very nice restaurant - we felt under dressed in our jeans!

The gluten-free menu at Bravo! has nine options: three salads, three pasta dishes and three entrees. I ordered the Pasta Verduta which comes with gluten-free rotini pasta, mushrooms, spinach, tomato compote and shrimp. I also tried the Strawberry Basil Smash to drink and the crème brulee (it's the only gluten-free dessert, but I'm not complaining!). 

The pasta was delicious! The texture wasn't too soft or too firm and it held up well to the other ingredients in the dish. Based on the taste and yellow color, I believe that this pasta has corn flour in it, which is in my favorite pasta to cook with at home: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Gluten Free Pasta. I also enjoyed my drink and dessert - who can say 'no' to strawberries and basil or caramelized sugar over creamy custard?

Some of the other dishes enjoyed at our table included the Penne Mediterranean Spinach with pine nuts, sundried tomatoes and spinach; the Pasta Amatriciana with caramelized onions, pancetta, basil and marinara sauce; the 5oz. Filet BRAVO!, which came with roasted sweet potatoes and red peppers, a pesto vinaigrette and grilled asparagus and the Crab & Shrimp Cakes with veggies and roasted potatoes.  

Everyone enjoyed their meals! It was so nice to get to see everyone, especially considering that it was the last two weeks of their veterinary rotations.

I'm not sure which restaurant has my favorite gluten-free pasta. I really liked the gluten-free pasta at Bravo!, but I also enjoyed the pasta at Rusty Bucket and Olive Garden. I think the only way to truly determine the best gluten-free pasta is to do a side-by-side comparison, what do you say Bravo!, Rusty Bucket and Olive Garden? I'm game if you are!

Bravo! Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon