From one location in Dartmouth, Massachusetts to over 20 locations today, Not Your Average Joe's has made a name for itself by focusing on from-scratch cooking and unparalleled service.
I've heard for awhile that Not Your Average Joe's had a great gluten-free menu- and even better- a can-do attitude when it comes to dietary restrictions.
The restaurant has been on my to-try list for awhile, but their Virginia and Maryland locations were just a bit out of range for grabbing a meal after work. However, an opportunity presented itself when my aunt came to visit, and happily agreed to venture beyond the District to Not Your Average Joe's Reston location.
From the moment we were seated, we were asked if either of us needed a gluten-free menu. I love it when staff members ask without prompting, because it shows the restaurant wants to put their best food forward for people with dietary restrictions. Click here to visit my post with the full dinner menu for Not Your Average Joe's.
Not only does Not Your Average Joe's have a dedicated menu, they also ensure gluten-free orders are handled by the in-house chef to ensure cross contamination is minimized. Once assessing gluten-free severity (allergy/preference), my waiter assured me that he would communicate my needs with the kitchen.
Once the waiter learned I was gluten-free, he assured me that he would put an order in for the gluten-free bread for Not Your Average Joe's bread service. The rolls are cut into quarter pieces, and are the same rolls used for sandwiches. I loved the warm softness of the rolls, which is everything gluten-free bread is usually not. The crust is tasty, and caramelized onion is dotted throughout, giving them a heavenly smell and flavor infusion. This bread was among the best I have tried- and that's really saying something.
From a little research, it appears the rolls come from Gillian's Foods (link). They are dairy-free, but not vegan because they contain egg.
Note that the accompanying "legendary dip" does contain butter. I did not sample it.
For an appetizer, my aunt and I ordered the Thai chicken lettuce wraps, which come stuffed with chicken, assorted vegetables, oranges, and a orange-sesame vinaigrette. The portioning is generous for the dish, but the flavors and ingredients are so light that my aunt and I had no issues splitting the dish and polishing it off. I loved the brightness of the orange and crispness of the chilled vegetables. On a hot summer day, the dish was perfect, and I most definitely will order it again on future visits.
For my entree, I decided upon the herb-crusted haddock with grilled asparagus and sautéed bok choy as my sides. The preparation of each element was well executed, with the fish delightfully tender with a crispy edge and the vegetables tender but not soggy. The fish and vegetables were flavorful on their own right but could have used a tad more seasoning to elevate the dish from great to excellent. Nevertheless, I am not complaining, because the dish was prepared safely, and was a cut above other restaurants where I have had to eat food sans any seasoning at all.
The portioning of this dish was quite generous, leaving me totally stuffed after the bread and appetizer with no thought of dessert.
I feely admit that I have fallen in love with Not Your Average Joe's, and hold them in the highest regard. They are definitely in the upper echelon of gluten-free restaurants out there, and knowing they are a chain is exciting because I will definitely seek them out wherever I travel. With a awesome menu, knowledgable and accommodating staff, and darn good food, you can't beat the value and peace of mind dining in a place that fully understands gluten-free experience. I hope I get a chance to return in the near future, and eagerly await my next meal.
But wait.. there's more! Check out this fun video from Not Your Average Joes all about their approach to gluten-free dining.