After over four years of living with Celiac Disease, I've found that eating out still isn't easy, and often it isn't very satisfying. Tonight I went to a Japanese steak house, Kabuto Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar in Greensboro, NC. I used to enjoy going to Japanese restaurants, but this is the first time I've been to a Japanese steak house since being on the gluten-free diet, because everything cooked in front of you on the table gets a good dousing of soy sauce (which is brewed with wheat and is not gluten-free). I made all of the usual preparations before leaving the house; including calling ahead to ask if they could accommodate a gluten-free diet, coming up with a cursory plan of what to eat based on their menu, snacking heavily before going to avoid feeling starved while watching everyone else eat, and bringing my own wheat-free soy sauce. You would think that after all of this preparation, and carefully ordering sushi and steamed rice I would have a nice meal with no issues, but unfortunately that wasn't what happened.
The chef at out table was entertaining with his flashing knives, onion volcano and spinning a raw egg on his spatula for an impossibly long time, but it was frustrating for me to watch as heaps of delicious looking food was tossed (literally) on to everyone's plate. On my plate was a heap on steamed white rice. I used my soy sauce to flavor the rice, along with a dash of Chinese style hot sauce.
My sushi arrived when the main course was served. I ordered a tray of sashimi tuna wrapped in rice and seaweed, and I ate it with the wasabi sauce, pickled ginger and my soy sauce. The tuna was fresh, but the sushi wasn't rolled to well. Nonetheless, I was content with my simple meal, that is until about 45 minutes after leaving the restaurant. Some times I have stomach irritations that I can't precisely attribute to a gluten reaction, but this wasn't one of those times. I had acute sharp pains in my gut that lasted for about a half hour, pretty much the typical good dosing of gluten reaction for me. Once again I don't know exactly where the gluten came from, it had to be either the wasabi, pickled ginger, Chinese hot sauce, (all of which I've had before) or the raw tuna (unlikely due to my type of reaction) or was it some unknown and unseen culprit?
All in all my advice would be: if your on a gluten-free diet, pass on the Japanese Steak house experience. Dining out shouldn't be this hard!