I am a sucker for fondue. There is something about that rich, flavorful, gooey cheese that makes me salivate just thinking about it. I had not eaten fondue since going gluten free several years ago.
The good news is that I found a place where I would feel safe eating fondues again. Rok Bistro in downtown Sunnyvale not only serves up a variety of both appetizer and dessert fondues, but it also cooks up something special. The owner’s daughter is one of the managers of this bistro, and she is gluten intolerant. She understands what diners go through to find a safe meal.
Or should I say you cook up something special?
Have you ever cooked your dinner on a lava rock? Using lava rocks as a heat source for cooking dates back to the Aboriginal people of New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. The owner of Rok Bistro first saw this method of cooking while he served as a missionary in Zimbabwe. When he returned to the United States, he wanted to bring this knowledge of cooking back with him. He put a lot of research into lava rock cooking systems. He eventually developed is own lava rock cooking system which is available for purchase via Rok Bistro’s website.
To cook your food in the restaurant, lava rocks are heated up overnight to over 700 degrees. These rocks retain their heat for 45 minutes. The rock is put onto a special ceramic tray. When the hot lava rock and food are first brought to your table, you’re instructed to put your protein on the rock to sear both sides and lock in natural juices. The rock is porous and gradually cools, which allows the meat to cook slowly to retain its juiciness. No gluten ever touches the rocks because the meats are seasoned only with oils, salt, and pepper.
Rok Bistro opened back in 2008. It is open for lunch and dinner. I have to confess, I had no idea how social historic downtown Sunnyvale was until I came to interview Rok Bistro. There are cute shops and restaurants up and down the quaint street. Rok Bistro is a casual dining experience. You can dine outside on the patio at Rok Bistro and watch everything going on downtown.
Wait until you see the Tomato Basil Swiss fondue recipe Rok Bistro shared with us! Click to read the Tomato Basil Swiss Fondue Recipe!
Gluten Free at Rok Bistro
- Gluten free menu makes it easy to know which fondues are gluten free.
- Breads are not kept near other ingredients.
- Clean fondue pans and utensils are used.
- The order form is marked gluten free for the kitchen.
- Servers are trained to know which fondue bases are gluten free (all but two beef broth and one beer based fondues.)
- Cornstarch is used to thicken fondues.
- All lava rocks never come into contact with gluten and you cook your food on your table, away from the kitchen.
- Gluten free cheese fondues have vegetables for dipping. You can bring your own gluten free breads as well.