Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Uninspired Vegan Cooking in Boston

Last night Anna and I went to a "special dinner" at the Harvard Square restaurant Veggie Planet. It was a prix fixe vegan meal with 4 courses for $25, which is apparently something they do every couple of months. Now, Anna and I go to Veggie Planet pretty often for brunch, since I'm a huge brunch fan and it is pretty much Anna's only option in Boston for brunch that doesn't consist purely of mixed greens or a fruit cup. The decor is extremely "downscale", as in plastic plates and glasses and tiny tables crammed together... and, frankly the food is fairly inconsistent and often mediocre, with the exception of their pizzas which are almost always good.

So with that said, I was pretty intrigued to see what this dinner was going to be like, and though I went in with pretty low expectations given the venue (do you think we'll get tablecloths!?), I was hoping to be surprised and find out we had a bimonthly contender with the Elephant Walk and The Helmand for "fancy vegan dinner" options (though one good thing out of the evening was that the couple we sat with told us that Upstairs on the Square does occasional vegan dinners and will do a vegan tasting menu if you give them notice).

In case you were wondering, we did get tablecloths, but they were as plastic as the plates... and as mentioned above, we sat with another couple at their typical cramped little table. So the ambiance was not much improved. The food was OK, but honestly Anna could have made a better meal... though I won't rip it apart, as I feel a little bad for the young lady who was apparently the chef, and it seemed like it might have been her first big "event".

Now, this was a round about way of bemoaning the fact that Boston doesn't have a really good vegan/vegetarian restaurant that is cutting edge and amazing (possible exception is Grezzo that just opened, but that is raw food, which pretty weird IMHO). Most cities don't have anything like that I suppose, but you'd think a liberal cosmopolitan college town like Boston/Cambridge would easily support such a venture (just look at how well Veggie Planet does and they are not even that good). Meh.

Anyway, that's my rant.

I also realize it's a bit ironic to complain about the state of Boston vegan dining right after posting a recipe about how to cook an entire pig in beans.