I’ve known about Pala for about a year now and was excited to try it now that we are living in NYC. When we arrived we were seated right away (we had a reservation) and our serve immediately asked “Have you been here before?” and “Does anyone in your party have a food allergy?” She explained to use how the menu worked and the gluten free options available to us. I was very impressed.
For starters there are ten gluten free appetizers and five salads to choose from. It was a hard choice to make, but ultimately we decided on the caponata ($10). It was very good but a very small portion and not easily shared with more than two or three people at most.
What I love about Pala is that they offer three types of gluten free pasta; all are organic. Choices include: Spaghetti (corn and quinoa flour), Fusilli (brown rice flour) or Penne (rice, potato and soy flour). This Is great for people who can’t eat soy or corn in addition to gluten.
We ordered the Bolognese beef ragu with sundered tomatoes over fusilli pasta ($17). The Bolognese was very good but the pasta was unevenly cooked. Some bites were chewy while others were excellent. The pasta at the bottom of the dish was great since gluten free pasta cooks more when its sitting in a hot sauce. But again, the portion size was on the small size.
We also shared the Zucchina pizza ($18) made with marinated zucchini, goat cheese, cherry tomato sauce, mozzarella, and rosemary. The dough was plain and there was no rosemary on the pizza. If there was, we couldn’t taste it. The pizza was ok, but I was expecting something better to be honest.
The gluten free pizza is served on dedicated gluten free paddles that are labeled “Gluten Free”.
I was very disappointed that I could not make any modifications to the pizzas. This is the second time in two weeks I’ve run into this; it must be a NYC thing because this never happened in Boston. It’s a shame for people like me who can eat goat and sheep cheese but not cheese made from cow’s milk. I don’t like daiya [vegan] cheese and I like meat so the vegan pizza was not an option, so we ordered the zucchini pizza anyways— our options were limited.
When it came time for the bill we had two gift cards and were told we could not use more than one gift card at one time. That is not stated anywhere on their website or on the gift card, and ultimately after the waitress having called the manager twice, they accepted both cards. Not the best restaurant etiquette I’ve seen.
The food is not bad, but for the quality and size, it is overpriced.