We all headed out to Rainforest Cafe in the Yorkdale Mall on the weekend to help celebrate my sweet two-year old nephew's birthday. After looking at the menu online it was difficult to determine if it would be a safe place for us to eat; the menus posted on-line are not specific to each location and there was no allergy information. I called ahead to speak with the manager and was assured that the kids menu was free of any nuts, except for the desserts. Knowing that a birthday celebration would include a cake, I didn't want DJ to feel left out so asked if I could supply my own. I was told it would be no problem.
The restaurant itself was pretty noisy and it was difficult to talk to the servers. I did pull our waiter aside to explain the situation and was again told that the kids menu contained no nuts and that it would be a safe experience. I asked again about the preparation area and if the food prep staff know how to avoid cross contamination. To be honest, I wasn't really happy with the answer I got "It's no problem" I didn't really feel like the issue was being taken all that seriously. What I really wanted to hear was what steps would be taken to ensure my sons meal would be safe in terms of food handling and prep.
Still, we placed our order: nuggets with fries and a small milk. That the food arrived with a different server concerned me and again I asked the new waitress to confirm the order was nut-free. I was pleased to see that she indeed was made aware by our original server and the kitchen. Still, a hand-off like this is the type of situation where I could see a potential problem cropping up.
While DJ certainly enjoyed the cafe, he also seemed somewhat over-whelmed and at several points, held his hands over his ears and said it was too loud. Judging by the number of screams of sheer terror throughout the restaurant I think it's really more for the five and up set.
Even though it was ultimately a safe experience, I wasn't a 100% comfortable and I doubt we'll be going back anytime soon.