Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gluten Free from Houston to Rochester

Marriott and Mario’s – Gluten Free

We took a quick trip recently to the Finger Lakes, and the night before we left we stayed at the Marriott at the airport in Houston. We have stayed there before and eaten in the restaurant before, but I think this was perhaps the best meal that I have had there. The restaurant is called CK’s and is in a tower that revolves. The scenery is not terrifically exciting, as it is mostly of the airport itself, but it is still fun to revolve (why is that?). The Special was grouper prepared with scallops, and the waiter (who brought us a relish plate instead of bread, which was very kind) assured me that the chef could prepare the fish in a way that would be gluten free for me. The non-gf special was served on a bed of rice. Mine was served over asparagus. Nice! The dish was very tasty, very fresh, very well prepared. Service was great. I intend to go back whenever I can.

The next night, when our flight got into Rochester, we ate at Mario’s. It was a Saturday night and we only called for reservations when we landed, but it was pretty early. Even so we were told that there might be a wait; as it turned out though, we were seated immediately. It’s a good thing we arrived when we did because it was very crowded within fifteen minutes of when we arrived. The restaurant is very large and impressive, but with a warm feel to it and a glittering bar in the lobby area. Some large banquet rooms for parties are off to the side.

Mario’s has a very extensive gluten free menu. The menu is over-sized and laminated. Salads, appetizers and pasta dishes are on the front. The steaks and chops and sides are listed on the back. I decided to get just a green salad, and an entree from the front since those were the more complex dishes. All the pasta entrees came with Tinkyada penne pasta. I ordered a Frenched Veal which came with some frenched artichokes as well and with a sherry cream sauce. There was a hint of some spice in the dish that wasn’t my style, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from eating with gusto. I particularly liked the artichokes.

There was a dessert tray, and three of the desserts were gluten free. One was of course the ever-present crème brulee; another was a parfait; the one that I chose was a tower of almond macaroons coated with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream and a raspberry or strawberry drizzle, with a slice strawberry garnish. Quite yummy, but maybe too many macaroons. I couldn’t really finish the entire dish.

I will go back to Mario’s when I can, but I think I will go with the back of the menu next time. The main draw in eating there is that I know that they are being careful and trying to feed their gluten intolerant customers safely and well. Thank you, Mario’s!


PS – Mario’s website is, and they have pictures of the restaurant as well as various menus, including the gluten free one on the site. They are not too far from the Rochester airport right off the Monroe Ave. exit of 590.

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