Gluten Free Chinese Food In NYC - GourmetLand on the Upper East Side

UPDATE February 2008 - after a brief closure, GourmetLand is back with a full and expanded gluten-free menu. And for even more GF Chinese food in Manhattan - try Lilli and Loo - it is fantastic.

On Saturday night I told a married man “I love you!” No, I’m not cultivating a new identity as a home-wrecker. I just couldn’t contain my joy when I learned of all the accommodations Eric, the manager of a new Chinese food restaurant, is making for gluten free customers.

I saw a single posting on the Celiac listserv a couple of weeks ago mentioning “GourmetLand’s gluten free Chinese food on the Upper East Side.” What? How could I not know about this? It can’t be. There must be some sort of mistake. Well, I decided to do some research and came across this menu online. Hmmm, no mention of the GFRAP or cross-contamination issues. I still had my doubts, but decided to check it out with my lovely friend Emily. I figured worst-case scenario, I could head to one of the other gluten free restaurants in the neighborhood.

When we arrived at GourmetLand, we found a small upscale restaurant with a beautiful bar and affordable prices. I asked the hostess about their gluten free menu and she responded “Oh, I’ll let you talk to the manager, he’s really into the whole gluten free thing.” Hmmm, that’s a good sign. Eric, the manager came over to our table. I asked him about the gluten free menu and how they prevented cross-contamination with all of the other gluten containing foods in the kitchen. (Chinese food restaurants are usually quite difficult because they use the same woks repeatedly) He said “Oh, we have a whole section of the kitchen just for gluten free dishes. In fact, next week we will be getting a whole new menu offering a much wider range of appetizers, side dishes and main courses. I am also working with a pastry chef to get some more gluten free desserts on the menu. He’s just working to get certified with the proper Celiac groups.”

It was at that point that I burst out with my declaration of love and asked Eric how he became acquainted with gluten free diners’ needs. Eric and his wife have a dear friend who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last year. He told me that they would cook at their house and have a separate set of dishes for their friend. When they decided to open GourmetLand they included six gluten free main courses. I was also informed that I could order any of the veggie dishes and the Chicken Lettuce wraps “gluten free.” Oh my! The only problem then became how to make a choice.

Emily and I shared the Chicken Lettuce Wrap appetizer with gluten free sauce.

After much debate, I selected the Mandarin Shrimp for my main course. I loved the sauce and the extra water chestnuts.

Emily and I shared the Sichuan Asparagus – hot and spicy but oh so good.

I can’t wait to go back once the full gluten free menu is available. Oh, and even better news for me – I live in their delivery zone! I didn’t think I would ever see the day that I could have gluten free Chinese Food delivered to my door. While we didn't get to sample the entire menu, the breaded (with cornstarch) Cheng Du Chicken was highly recommended. They serve Redbridge gluten free beer (Bard's Tale and more are on the way), potato vodka, and for dessert they have a rich chocolate gluten free brownie.

Now if YOU want to declare your love to a married man and enjoy dinner with other gluten free friends, support GourmetLand with the NY Celiac Meetup group on March 28th. Sadly I won’t be able to make it, but I will be there in spirit!

UPDATE June 2007: I have Gourmet Land's new gluten free menu sitting in front of me. It is too good to be true. Almost the entire menu can now be made gluten free! There are 14 appetizers and salads including egg rolls, ginger spare ribs and warm duck salad; 15 seafood, beef, pork and chicken dishes including Orange Beef, Chinese BBQ Pork and Devilish Calamari; 10 vegetable, tofu, rice and noodle dishes including Singapore Noodles, Chow Fun and Tam Noodles; 4 desserts including a chocolate tort, chocolate truffle and mango sorbet; and Redbridge Beer and 2 potato vodkas! Book your plane ticket to NY now or if you are lucky enough to live in NY, go eat some gluten free Chinese food!

Gourmet Land 1588 2nd Ave, New York 10028 Btwn 82nd & 83rd St Phone: 212-772-8700


Lynn Barry said...

You homewrecker funny. I love reading your blog entries.
Pat and band are playing at Snitch tonight if you are interested. HUGS

Maiden of the Sea said...

I've never seen a gluten free fried rice on a Chinese menu! How awesome is that. You guys are killing me with the gluten free stories of NY- clearly I'm on the wrong coast.


visit my gluten free WEST COAST blog ;) at

Anonymous said...

Catherine, what an awesome write up about Gourmet Land. It sounds amazing. Sorry you will miss another meet up next week. Hope to see you soon.

Gluten Free Suzi said...

oohh I am jealous, I really miss Chinese food. And to get home delivery :-o that's unheard of!

Sounds like a great night at great restaurant with a great friend. With more and more people being diagnosed I think we will see more restaurants looking after us.

I really enjoy your blog and have added you to my blogroll :-)


Catherine said...

lynn - thanks as always!

Sea - after reading about your ravioli I wish I was on the west coast!

Erin - I wish I could be there, I would love to taste EVERYTHING family style...

Suzi - Thanks for reading.

Erin S. said...

Catherine, we had our second meetup at Gourmet Land on June 5th and this was even more amazing than the first. The egg rolls are outstanding and they now have cheese cake. Megan and Eric go out of their way for the gluten-free community. To see an entire gluten-free take-out menu is enough to bring happy tears to your eyes. If you ever need a dining buddy, drop me an email and I will meet you at Gourmet Land at anytime! :-)

Mind of C said...

To our surprise, Gourmetland has closed. We were going to order today b/c my wife loves their food (and she is celiac), but the number routed to Penang. What a disappointment!

Allergic Girl said...

i cant believe it! gone and totally untried by me...and we never got there together as planned.

after that great write up in the TIMES i wonder what really
happened? hmmm.

jennifer said...

I'm actually shocked by this news. When I talked to them two months ago they were packed every night! Unless every GF person in New York had tried it and wasn't going back, something seems fishy. Ugh. How sad (and truth is, I shamefully never made it there to eat).
Hopefully someone else will pick up the idea.

anna said...

This restaurant is NOT GLUTEN FREE. It changed hands and they are not willing to do gluten free AT ALL.

John said...

these guys are just amazing and theyre food is delicious!