Benihana

Review by Melanie

3295 S Tamarac Dr, Denver, CO 80231
Celiac
9 months ago
Celiac friendly

Update 1/2019: Unfortunately though my first visit was good, tonight was extremely disappointing. Our waitress Samantha was lovely and brought out soup without breaded onions, salad with no dressing, and was super friendly and understanding. However chef Manny was a complete idiot with gluten allergy handling. I asked if he could cook my food first and he said he’d do it last... questionable, but I was optimistic. He started off ok, cooking the fried rice for everyone and taking mine out in a separate bowl before adding the soy sauce. He served everyone else, then wiped down the grill and utensils... just with a wet towel. He dumped out my rice and cooked it on the unclean grill then gave to me. At this point I knew I couldn’t eat the food without getting sick so went to the hostess and asked for a separate meal from the back kitchen. She apologized and said she’d let management know. I returned to the table where Manny had given me shrimp cooked right next to wheat noodles using the same utensils, without cleaning the grill at all. He proceeded to do the same for veggies & scallops, using the same utensils as for noodles and regular soy sauce. At that point my partner and I were laughing about how clueless he was, but knowing I’d get separate food soon I just held my breath. He went to the kitchen to grab something and I guess must have been told about the issue as he proceeded to discard my steak. My safely cooked food took nearly 30min to come out from the back kitchen and was delicious, but unfortunately Manny’s lack of training reflects very poorly on this location in their training on allergen handling. Hostess and management seemed to know that gluten free food needed to be cooked first, but obviously that standard was not enforced with actual cooking staff. If you have a gluten allergy or celiac, I’d recommend either paying attention very closely to grill cooking, or eating in the dining room to order food directly from the kitchen. Disappointing. I've previously done gluten free at Benihana in Miami Beach after some work with their manager but this experience was so incredibly simple! I have celiac and always love finding places I can still enjoy food. I put in our reservation that I needed a gluten free meal and confirmed with the hostess how it would work. She said they take care of letting everyone know - chef, waiter, manager - and they will handle it and either can cook my food before everyone else or on a separate grill. Our chef used gluten free soy sauce and regular butter for my bf & I and he was so nice and funny about it, and already knew about cross contamination, using different utensils, and everything I would do at home. My bf (not gluten free) had my soup since the onions are breaded and I had salad with oil & vinegar. Delicious all around and we're so happy to be able to continue eating here for birthdays and special occasions. Gluten free at Benihana IS possible!! Huge shoutout to chef Indito - he was AMAZING and so interactive during the dinner - & server Segi.