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Red Lentil Excellent Again

StriperGuy May 29, 2013 10:17 AM

I'm not even a veggie, but I like veggie food.

Had their Tempeh Ruben sandwich with sauerkraut and it was just spectacular. They gave me half a side salad and half an order of sweet potato fries as my side. Both were delicious.

Think pretty much every meal I've had there has been wonderful.

  1. k
    Klunco May 29, 2013 12:31 PM

    Thanks for sharing. This is one place that's been on my list forever (especially since we mostly eat veggie food at home) but that, for one reason or another I've never made it out to. Often, we just hit Life Alive. The last veg restaurant we tried, Tru Bistro, was kind of a bust for us.

    Does Red Lentil do take out?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Klunco
      StriperGuy May 29, 2013 12:44 PM

      They will certainly do takeout.

    2. l
      Lumax May 29, 2013 01:59 PM

      Yes, and they are generous with the portions. I got the burrito and Thai noodle salad recently, both very nice.

      1. l
        lergnom May 29, 2013 05:59 PM

        I don't say "wonderful" but I like the food and the atmosphere, at least when it's not freezing cold through the drape protecting the door. I would say all my meals have been both pleasing and satisfying.

        1. digga May 29, 2013 07:10 PM

          Went for lunch today with a friend who works around the corner - my first time. I had to get the Gobi Manchurian with a side of brown rice. Friend got a salad - I forget which one (beet?) and she thought it was just fine and hit the spot, as she wanted something light. We both munched on the gobi - it was just as good as previous posters have raved (including you, I believe). I took the words out of my (Indian) friend's when I said, "this is really good Indo-Chinese." She was just about to say the same thing at that very moment. She misses that cuisine and off the top of my head, I couldn't think of places in town that serve it but I know it's been discussed here.

          We went on the late side, just after 1 pm. Still pleasantly ~1/3 full of people and service was attentive. I can't wait to try it again.

          FYI - They serve wine and beer (don't know if that is a recent thing or not but thought I'd mention it).

          1 Reply
          1. re: digga
            a
            antimony May 30, 2013 02:09 PM

            Chinese Mirch in Framingham is all indo-chinese, FYI. Not "in town" so much, but not too far away.

          2. p
            pickledtink May 29, 2013 07:29 PM

            Been meaning to try this place for ages, it's just off my usual routes. Sounds like something worth planning for!

            Can you speak at all to how easy it is to get allergen info? I haves some food allergies & sensitivities and it is always a comfort to me to feel like I can eat out safely at a restaurant that knows its stuff.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pickledtink
              StriperGuy May 30, 2013 06:34 AM

              I am SURE they would be sensitive to food allergy issues.

            2. Bob Dobalina May 30, 2013 02:57 AM

              Now if you would just convince some people who stand in line at the diner across the street for meh brunch to cross to RL.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                StriperGuy May 30, 2013 06:35 AM

                So, so, so true.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                  digga May 30, 2013 07:00 AM

                  Just curious...are they hurting for business? My my friend, I know that they are very busy at high lunchtime. What are brunch and dinner like there?

                  1. re: digga
                    l
                    lergnom May 30, 2013 08:36 AM

                    I've had to wait for brunch.

                    1. re: digga
                      StriperGuy May 30, 2013 09:25 AM

                      I don't think so, lunch, dinner, they always seem pretty busy.

                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        Bob Dobalina May 31, 2013 03:39 AM

                        That's good news - there was a big disparity originally.

                  2. a
                    antimony May 30, 2013 02:09 PM

                    I love Red Lentil, too. It's always a challenge not to order the same thing, I love the seitan/teff crepe enough to eat it over and over again. (And the beet latkes -- the gobi manchurian is great but if we order for a party of two it I never have room for my entree because it's a huge amount of food.)

                    1. l
                      lergnom May 31, 2013 09:08 AM

                      As I think about Red Lentil, the only problem is: why aren't there more places like this? Lots of people enjoy eating vegetarian or vegan some days. And in a city stuffed to the gills with young people, we all likely know someone who at least eats that way part of the time if not all the time. And Red Lentil shows it's really, really possible to make good tasting, attractive and satisfying vegetarian food. I guess it's too much work compared to burgers ... but Red Lentil's veggie burger is excellent.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: lergnom
                        k
                        Klunco May 31, 2013 10:00 AM

                        Not having tried Red Lentil, I think most of the veggie-centric restaurants we have in Boston and even around the country are disapointing.

                        While I don't expect every place to be like Ubuntu, L'Arpège, or Dirt Candy, I wish more "vegetarian" restaurants would at least take the same approach: vegetable-based cooking and inventing/using recipes where vegetables are the star, rather than what veggie cooking is at most vegetarian restaurants (subtracting meat from a meat dish and then trying to make it work.) I don't think it's too much work, I think it's lack of creativity. This is why the meals I had at Ubuntu were so mind-blowing and had such a strong impact on me; it was so foreign. It wasn't just the fun surprise that comes with a meal at Alinea, or the beauty (influence clearly noted) of a meal at Restaurant Bras, or the sheer deliciousness of a great meal, it was the combination of all three. By taking away meat, it had a greater impact because it's such a unique experience. I imagine it's like what people felt who went to El Bulli when they were really starting to hit their stride.

                        There is a huge market share out there for great vegetarian cooking from talented chefs who know how to create or use recipes that are built from the ground up on veggies. There is a wealth of legume recipes from latin america, the middle east, India, and Africa that are virtually non-existent at most "vegetarian" restaurants. Why is this?

                        I'm looking forward to trying Red Lentil and having another option besides Indian or middle eastern restaurants when we're looking for a vegetarian meal.

                        1. re: Klunco
                          Science Chick May 31, 2013 10:18 AM

                          Bravo, Klunco!

                          1. re: Klunco
                            m
                            Madrid Jun 1, 2013 11:39 AM

                            try the veg tasting menu at Oleana. yes, it's middle eastern but only sort of and very inventive.

                            1. re: Madrid
                              k
                              Klunco Jun 1, 2013 07:31 PM

                              Totally agree, love Oleana and their veg tasting menu! Also, if your peckish, they've let us split one tasting between the two of us. Makes a great late night "snack"

                            2. re: Klunco
                              l
                              lergnom Jun 1, 2013 12:46 PM

                              Thing about Red Lentil is it's just a neighborhood place that serves good food - by meat or non-meat standards. It isn't a "chef" restaurant. It isn't highly inventive with a lot of presentation and special prep - they use some pre-made stuff (I've asked). I don't see why more neighborhood places don't offer this kind of food; it would stand out in the roster of burger this and burger that.

                              1. re: lergnom
                                k
                                Klunco Jun 1, 2013 07:33 PM

                                Agreed completely. I think, like the death of the American diner, younger chefs want to do "cool" chef-y food and think simple places are boring.

                              2. re: Klunco
                                Bob Dobalina Jun 1, 2013 01:03 PM

                                True Bistro in Teele deserves mention here too. Another place where veggies get proper care.

                                Having changed at home to a "whole foods plant-based" diet, I tend to agree that one problem with vegetarian cooking is that it is really hard to cook veggies compared to proteins, or at least a larger range of possible error.

                                Plus I think there is a certain generation of vegetarians who see a veggie diet as a lifestyle choice or an ethics choice rather than a cuisine choice. I seem to have known more than a few vegetarians who actually don't really like many vegetables, or food in general. It's kind of a paradox in a way - if you really enjoy food, itis difficult to limit oneself.

                                Anyway, I think the next food revolution is going to be transforming "vegetarian" foods into just good mass-prodcued food that mainstream people want to eat regardless of the labels. Red Lentil, Oleana and True Bistro are on the frontier of that.

                                Would some food historians say that the post-war baby boom protein bump is actually an aberration?

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                  k
                                  Klunco Jun 1, 2013 07:47 PM

                                  True bistro was actually a bust for us, I tasted four different entrées and a starter (the fried oyster mushrooms which was by far the tastiest thing) and honestly thought if it didn't have the veggie slant/contingent going for it, the food wouldn't be able to support a restaurant. Harsh, maybe, but that's the thing, there is a population out there who is dying for vegetarian options. The good at True was dying for seasoning, acidity, flavor, or just any kind of pop. It just struck me as very flat. I suppose it's a step up from the hippie no-salt barley salads of the 70s but still, it makes me want to see a talented Boston chef really attack this cuisine.

                                  I did like the cute atmosphere and the service was great, super friendly though.

                                  As far as transforming veg food to the mass market, I've been very impressed with Clover who seems to be expanding rapidly. Good, casual, cheap food that is trying to raise the bar for fast food with their coffee prep, interesting sandwiches, and technology driven menu. They definitely are a work in progress (they're the first to admit that) but its been fascinating watching them refine and try to improve their consistency over the past few years.

                                  I've also heard that the new "Alden & Harlow" (at least I think that's the name), the restaurant going into the old Casablanca space is going to try to have some unique veggie preps.

                              3. re: lergnom
                                Science Chick Jun 2, 2013 01:50 PM

                                The Five Seasons in JP used to be just such a place. Great variety of veg preparations and macrobiotic menu everyday too. Then they had to go and expand into that space in Brookline where the Fireplace is currently. PPLLLLLLPP.......really miss their food!

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