As soon as you place your order at Polenteria, a pocket-sized Italian restaurant at Los Gatos which opened in July, you get a plate of bread. It’s a small wooden plate that includes slices of spongy, chewy focaccia and Italian country bread, pane rustico, with a firm crust and tender crumb. On the side is a pale yellow slab of salted butter and a whole head of roasted garlic, its top sliced open to reveal golden cloves, similar to molasses in their spreadability. The bread is fantastic and it is also gluten free. In fact, everything about this restaurant is, but you wouldn’t be blamed for not noticing.
Polenteria chef-owner Yvonne Khananis tells me she delayed the restaurant’s opening for two and a half months because the team couldn’t get the bread quite right. “The bread had to be the s—,” she said. The restaurant’s goal was to cater to people with gluten intolerance and people with celiac disease, who rarely find purchases in Italian restaurants. Even if they can order a salad without bread, cross-contamination is a constant spectrum.