Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.
I’m one of the 47,000 people doing the Whole30 diet in January (I know; I’m a cliche). That means no dairy, grains (gluten or otherwise), soy, legumes, alcohol, sugar, additives, or junk food like deep-fried items or paleo pancakes. It’s a pretty exhaustive list of eliminations; basically I can eat meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables (including potatoes), most fats, most nuts and … that’s about it. It’s kind of a nightmare for someone who’s used to being the “no allergies/no restrictions” person at restaurants.
Can you think of any places in New York where I might be able to get an enjoyable meal when I’m visiting, or at least a place where I can find one or two compliant items and the rest of my friends and/or colleagues can eat more adventurously? I’m happy to call ahead to ask questions about the menu. Please help!
Officially That Person at Restaurants Now
No shame in having dietary restrictions — and luckily, lots of great New York restaurants are used to requests like yours. You won’t even have to only eat at sad fast-casual restaurants.
You’re probably aware that a steakhouse is on the safer side for dining out on Whole30, but a classic one might not be the way to go if your friends want to eat something a little more boundary-pushing. St. Anselm in Williamsburg might be a solid choice for a night out that satisfies both ends of that spectrum.
Though the restaurant is in the steakhouse genre, it definitely feels like an updated New York version of one. Go for one of the steaks, or if you’re more interested in fish, a whole trout option is a completely reasonable $19. A colleague also just went this week, and the staff was proactive in asking about eating restrictions before sending in the order, meaning you won’t get side-eye for asking questions.
Build in time to wait a bit for a table, but once you’re in, it won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself much at all, whether it’s for food or vibe.