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Beat the wheat with gluten-free fine dining

Ditching the gluten? Local restaurants have a crop of safe eats


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Gluten: It’s a sticky protein compound in wheat and other grains — and the latest nutritional villain. Once thought of as only a culprit in causing celiac disease (imagine indigestion with a superiority complex), some recent studies have found that up to 6 percent of the U.S. population is “gluten sensitive.” In other words, the stuff is suspected of causing everything from fatigue to migraines to stomach troubles. Now, going gluten-free is all the rage — and many local restaurants are harvesting customers who are embracing the diet trend.

“We’ve always featured gluten-free dishes for guests with wheat allergies,” says Chris Rook, corporate chef for Morton’s (400 E. Flamingo Road, 893-0703). “We offer a variety of options, from our prime steaks, which can be ordered dry and with no au jus, to a seafood dish like shrimp Alexander, which contains bread crumbs, but we serve it grilled and non-breaded.” And if you suffer from soy allergies, for instance, your Alaskan King Crab will come with whole butter, as opposed to clarified.

A sweet, gluten-free finale at Morton’s? Rook suggests the double chocolate mousse, which contains no flour, or the crème brûlée.

Morton’s isn’t alone in giving Vegas diners options, of course. French bistro Mon Ami Gabi (944-4224) in Paris Las Vegas has long boasted a gluten-free menu that includes everything from herb-roasted chicken paillard (served with vegetable salad and lemon) to steak béarnaise (served with béarnaise sauce and shallow fry frites). Additionally, all gluten-free items come with warm, gluten-free bread, sweet cream butter, and olive amuse comprising roasted garlic, orange and herbs.

Over at The Yard House (with two locations at Red Rock Resort and Town Square, they present menu suggestions that can be modified for the gluten-sensitive — for example, croutons, candied walnuts and other potential allergens can be removed from their salads, while something as simple as requesting no wasabi soy sauce with the spicy tuna roll can save a sensitive diner much grief.

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And for a sweet treat, it doesn’t get much better for the allergy-challenged than the ice creamery known as Atomic #7 (605 Mall Ring Circle #110, 458-4777), where all the ice cream is vegan, organic and gluten-free. Whether you’re slurping down one of the their signature smoothies (Atomic Amazon, Molecular Mango, Gamma Green) or digging into one of their “out of this world flavor combos” (Life is a Chai Way, Karma Caramel, Espresso Yourself), your stomach won’t punish you for indulging.

It doesn’t always have to be a super-special dining experience, either. These days plenty of your, um, bread-and-butter chain restaurants offer gluten-free alternatives, too — P.F. Chang’s, Pei Wei, Chili’s, Maggiano’s (order anything you want with gluten-free pasta!), Outback, Red Mango Frozen Yogurt, and — last but not least — In-N-Out, where the straight fries have no additives and a protein-style burger comes with no bun and wrapped in lettuce. Summer is tasting better already.