Asian cusine is either a complete hit or a complete miss with gluten free eating. Usually it is the latter. But not Lilli and Loo in NYC, they are the exception to that rule. Want to stuff your face with some good old fried tempura? Or maybe enjoy a little general tso’s chicken that isn’t coming straight from a tiny pre-frozen dish from the freezer aisle at Shop Rite? Oh and you don’t want to get terribly sick because you ate gluten? Well, Lilli and Loo offers all of those dining pleasantries and much more for gluten free eaters.
According to the menu at Lilly and Loo, they have designed their kitchen, food ingredients and cooking practices to adhere to the gluten intolerant group standards. I honestly don’t know what that means exactly and can never get clarification from servers since there is typically a slight language barrier. But so far, everything has been great and I have had zero issues, for what that is worth.
If there is a review where the “BC bias” will factor into my ratings then this might be it. BC Bias (as I like to call it) stands for “Before Celiac”. This means that I used to love this kind of food before I was diagnosed. With that said, my girlfriend and I chowed down on a number of food items.
For an app, we got the rock shrimp tempura with citrus mayo. It’s exactly how you would think this would be, delicious and not so nutritious. I also got myself a small bowl of the egg drop soup (one of my old favorites).
I decided to get two entrees because why the hell not. And yes, I’m slowly gaining weight pound by pound from ordering everything under the sun as I conduct these reviews. But guess what – WORTH IT! Anyway, I got crispy general tso’s chicken which came with broccoli for the 1st entree. The 2nd entree was the black angel roll which was rock shrimp tempura & avocado topped with spicy tuna. I’m currently drooling writing about this. I loved every second of stuffing my face with everything I just wrote about. I want to give all of this a high 9 but my girlfriend tried it and all and thought it was just standard for Asian cuisine but great for being gluten free. Again, that is why I prefaced this with my little BC Bias disclaimer and my rating reflects all of that.
Nothing special about drinks here. They are good at best and good at their worst. They have a fully stocked bar and a standard wine menu.
I hate giving this place a 5.8 for service but remember, this is all from the gluten free standpoint and not a traditional restaurant review. The reason they scored so low is because it is very hard to have confidence in what you are eating. Assuming English is your only language like in my case, the language barrier that exists makes it very tough to communicate with the servers about what goes on behind the scenes. Having confidence in what you are about to eat is KEY to a great service score with these gluten free reviews. Being able to communicate your issue and verbally hear back the how and why you will be safe is too important.
I can’t stress enough that this isn’t a race thing but simply a language barrier. Our guts don’t care about these kinds of boundaries unfortunately. However, it is worth noting that the servers DO KNOW what they are doing regarding gluten free even if they don’t communicate it. It seems like they have a totally separate kitchen, cooking area and use separate fryers for all things gluten free. The only thing that can confirm this is the countless people who have eaten here without issue and my gut, which has experienced the same outcome.
Menu Honesty (9.8)
Confidence will be had from their menu. The amount of gluten free options is actually mind numbing. In your first time dining here, your jaw will drop in disbelief at the site of the separate gluten free menu. It is incredible. Although the little disclaimer at the end of the menu makes no guarantee which is standard for any restaurant that serves both gluten and gluten free eaters; it is where your confidence will derive from. See the picture below to understand what I mean.
Did I Get Sick (NO)
My gut was happy as were my taste buds. It is important to note that I have eaten here a few times and have never gotten glutened.
I very much recommend this place if you guys enjoy general Asian cuisine and miss things like general tso’s or shrimp tempura. It is quite amazing to be able to eat and enjoy these kinds of things knowing my gut won’t be grabbing a pitch fork and starting a revolt against me.