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Review of MJ O’Connor’s Gluten Sensitive Menu

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 2.47.41 PMI was recently invited to check out MJ O’Connor’s Gluten Sensitive Menu at their Waterfront location (the Park Plaza location does not have this menu.). I took my friend Alex along with me for our last meal together before she heads out to UC Berkley for grad school, and we sampled a few items off the Gluten Sensitive Menu.

Owned and operated by The Briar Group, MJ O’Connor’s is one of three restaurants within the Group that offers a Gluten Sensitive Menu— the other two being City Table and Anthem Kitchen + Bar.

The restaurant, located in the Westin Boston Waterfront, has a warm friendly atmosphere and beautifully handcrafted bar.  MJ O’Connor’s is an upscale Irish pub – unlike those you are used to in Faneuil Hall. Also, during the summer, they have outside seating.

MJ O’Connors is a great place to grab a drink and an appetizer with friends after work, or to watch your favorite sports game on one of the many HD flat-screen TV’s.

At first glance the menu looks overpriced, but once you see the portion sizes it is actually a pretty good value. MJ O’Connor’s portions are huge, and I was impressed with the size of our entrées.Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 2.12.46 PM

The Gluten Sensitive Menu is rather small, but it’s better than nothing! It is nice that they have created a separate menu for gluten sensitivities; this certainly beats having to ask the waitress about every single menu item. The flatbread pizza ($15) caught my attention right away. With the choice of either truffled scally-mashed potatoes, grilled steak tips, bacon, and cheddar cheese; or fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and basil, we opted for the latter. The pizza was great; Alex thought it was one of the best gluten free pizzas that she has ever tried. The thin crust pizza has a rice base and was not undercooked in the middle, which is a common problem with gluten free pizza dough. It was big enough to be a meal in itself for two people, or shared as an appetizer with a bigger group. If I go back, I would order this again.IMG_3979

For our entrées, Alex ordered the pan-crisped salmon with gingered coconut rice, mango chutney, and haricot verts ($21). The salmon was a little drier than we like it and too salty. The coconut rice was to die for, and was our favorite part of this dish. But, with so many great seafood restaurants in the area, it is hard to justify spending $21 on a piece of fish that was not perfect.IMG_3980

I ordered the 14oz grilled sirloin with roasted fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus ($34). First, let me state the obvious – 14 oz is a lot of meat! I could not even finish half of it. It was tender, juicy, and cooked to perfection. The potatoes and asparagus on the other hand were just ok. The asparagus was undercooked and both sides were way too salty. This was our only complaint about our meals: too much salt. Next time I will make sure to ask for no salt.IMG_3981

All in all, we had a great night. Our server was very friendly and attentive. Our water glasses were never empty. We loved the pizza, and I would order it again. It is nice to have gluten free options, especially pizza, and I could see myself coming back with friends to watch a Red Sox or Patriots game and enjoy a few drinks and appetizers. Now, just tone down the slat on the rest of the meals and I wouldn’t have anything to complain about!

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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.

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