Recently I had the opportunity to try out Two Urban Licks, a restaurant owned by the same folks that run One Midtown Kitchen and Trois. Self described as ‘fiery American food,’ Two Urban Licks offers a diverse menu that changes daily, and offers hearty seasonal dishes with options that even fill up gluten-free bellies.
I went with a group of friends on a Friday night to Two Urban Licks and it was quite a happening place. With high ceilings, live music, full tables, and the kitchen located in the center of the restaurant, surrounded by glass, there’s action everywhere. Being that it was a weekend night, it was particularly loud and I was glad that our table was far away from the band. (Does that make me old and lame?)
Since I was flying back from Virginia that afternoon, I went to Two Urban Licks with no information about the restaurant and whether they would be able to accommodate my gluten-free needs. We had friends in town and another member of our group suggested we go. I had heard great things about the trio of restaurants and was eager to check one out. After glancing at the sample menu online, I figured the chef would be knowledgeable about gluten and its hidden sources, and it seemed like a nice enough place that would work hard to avoid contamination in its culinary preparation. Fortunately I was proved correct!
(photo by cflashman)
We were smart enough to make dinner reservations and were immediately seated once we handed off our car to the restaurant’s complimentary valet service. Our waiter was quite attentive from the beginning and you could definitely tell that he had “drunk the kool aid” at Two Urban Licks. He loved everything about the place and was great at selling the food and beverages. There’s no doubt that he knew what celiac was but he was a bit judgmental at first about my disease. It would be putting it mildly to say that our waiter did not hold back. He openly told me that it must suck to be gluten-free and celiac is the worst disease. Well, I informed him, that’s not really the best way to look at it since I don’t have much of a choice about the whole situation. He also told me that celiac is today what ADD was in the 90s. This isn’t really the best way to win over your clientele, but after my husband and I informed him just how seriously sick I would be if I consumed gluten, he seemed to get the picture and took good care of me.
While I was initially very wary of our server, he definitely redeemed himself over the course of the night. He took the paper menu to the kitchen for the chef to mark up so that I knew exactly what I could and couldn’t eat. I love having a full list of food options placed in front of me instead of having to engage in a back and forth between the waiter and the kitchen in order to figure out what items are ‘safe’ for me to eat. He also told me about certain items on the menu that could be slightly modified to be made gluten-free. There were many entrée options for me on the menu, but I had to avoid most of the appetizers and small plates. The lack of gluten-free apps is not unique to Two Urban Plates. Most restaurants are lacking in the appetizer department for us celiacs, but I’m alright with it because it just means I have more room for my entrée. Some times I order a salad but after a lot of holiday eating, I chose to just stick with the main course. I must say the empanadas looked delicious and my dinner group definitely enjoyed those morsels of doughy goodness.
(from the tinybites.ca review)
All of us loved our meals at Two Urban Licks. Apparently the mac ‘n cheese at Two Urban Licks is incredible and my dining companions would have to agree. In our party of six, four ordered the ‘Beef rib with mac ‘n cheese’ which is so big, it looks like it could be a dinosaur limb. I selected the braised lamb shank with white beans and roasted root vegetables. My dish was so tender and the meat fell right off the bone. The lamb and veggies was a perfect meal for a cold, rainy Atlanta night. It felt so hearty but there were no heavy sauces to leave me feeling too full and uncomfortable after the meal. The perfect amount of food for me and I ate every bite.
In a city full of breweries and craft beers, the wine selection at Two Urban Licks is a gluten-free girl’s dream. They have an insane number of wines literally on tap at Two Urban Licks and you can order different amounts, depending how much you want. Our waiter gave us good advice, however, to go with a bottle as opposed to wines on tap in order to get better value and taste. He was very helpful in selecting wines and did not turn his nose up at us because we weren’t ordering the most expensive bottle on the menu. Our chatty waiter did voice his disdain for people who order beer, which only encouraged the guys in our group to get beers with their dinner. I had to agree with our waiter on this one.
Overall, I enjoyed our lively experience at Two Urban Licks and I will be checking out Trois and One Midtown Kitchen soon. Even our strongly opinionated waiter grew on me as the night continued. All of his advice was well informed and proved correct. I love going to a restaurant where its clear that all of the employees believe in the place and truly care about the food and beverage. While a little on the pricier side, I enjoyed the atmosphere and cuisine. Definitely worth the trip to Two Urban Licks for a fun night out. A word of warning, it will be loud as there is live music and some of the trendy horse shoe tables make it difficult to engage in conversation with more than the person next to you. Otherwise, a great gluten-free dining experience!
About the Author
Betsy Metcalf is a gluten-free foodie who loves to cook and eat delicious food. She is also a consultant for people with celiac disease and for people with gluten allergies who enjoy cooking.
You can find her cheerful writings on her blog about gluten freedom.