Hours: Breakfast: Monday-Friday; dinner: Tuesday-Saturday
Gluten-free contemporary American from chef Noah Sandoval, plus a gluten-free cafe serving weekday mornings and Sundays.
The name Senza comes from the Italian word for "without," but there's nothing noticeably lacking at this gluten-free fine dining spot. On the contrary, this Lakeview restaurant wants to present a menu that, as the website puts it, "appeals to the entire dining community." Under chef Noah Sandoval, who put in time as a sous chef at Schwa and Spring, it's well equipped to do so. You'll find the desire to ingratiate expressed in the satisfyingly chewy "everything" gnocchi, which come tossed with everything-bagel toppings garlic, sesame, and poppy seeds, plus crunchy, salty shiitake mushrooms and a gooey duck egg, cooked sous vide. You'll want to sop up what's left with a piece off one of owner-baker Susan McMillan's little square loaves of gluten-free bread, which are both gratis and delicious, slightly sweet with a crisp crust and subtle graininess that recalls corn bread. Senza offers two tasting menus—one with meat, one without—as well as an a la carte menu, which ranges from small plates like the gnocchi to entree-sized and entree-priced large plates. A New York strip, cooked to medium rare, was damn near outshone by the meaty smoked-potato puree it sat atop; root vegetables that somebody had taken a melon baller to were mounded against the steak, like oversize Dippin' Dots. Duck was moist and slightly chewy, its fattiness well complemented by frisee and fennel served alongside. Senza serves wine, two gluten-free beers, and four cocktails, each devoted to a different spirit: gin, bourbon, rum, and tequila. Both the bourbon and rum were on the sweetish side, but the latter, incorporating cider and caramel and shaken with egg white, was intriguing, its overall effect autumnal. Speaking of effect: this corner space, with its gleaming white picnic-style tables, fabric walls, and soft lighting, is a gorgeous spot to eat.
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