There are more restaurants that offer gluten free options than I think most know, because they are not necessarily advertising it. In a close to perfect world, there would be a symbol on all menus for gluten free dishes, just like some menus have a symbol for items that are spicy, or vegetarian. Thanks to some friends who generally aren't pre-planners, I found myself at a new restaurant this past weekend. With a travel pack of salad dressing purse I figured at least I might be able to eat a salad. In actuality, there were another options to consider having a gluten free menu.
Lucca, near the corner of 16 and J in downtown Sacramento, is an upscale restaurant offering Mediterranean food with a California flare. Their menu changes seasonally, which can make it more difficult for those with food allergies to be able to "rely" on, versus say a chain, like Outback, or P.F. Chang's, who's menu is relatively stable, and thus you know every time you go you can order that specific item you liked and didn't react to. However, places who's menu's are seasonal, also means they deal with fresh ingredients, are cooking mainly from scratch, and will be able to prepare pretty much whatever you request that's close to their menu.
With a quick phone call I learned there were several entrees in addition to salad options that I could have. Additionally I was told that if it wasn't during a rush, they would be able to cook my own gluten free pasta for me. This leads me to a side tip for dining out regarding pasta: I've discovered that most restaurants use a huge pot, divided into 4 quadrants, to cook pasta quickly and efficiently. This water does not get changed out. Thus when restaurants are busy, they can not take a separate burner and boil pasta for 1 person, and if you boil it in the used pasta water you'll get contaminated. So your choices may increase if you are dining during a non-rush period.
I ended up ordering salmon with a tomato butter sauce and mashed potatoes. It needed a little salt, but otherwise, this was quite delicious, and I did not have the slightest of reactions. Other tasty options currently (I imagine their menu will change for spring) include grilled steak salad, pork chops, and risotto. This is a nice place for a special night out, a business lunch, or if you're treating yourself. I highly suggest checking them out some time.