Red Lentil – Eclectic Vegan & Vegetarian Food At Its Best In Watertown, MA!

600 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 972-9189

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The Red Lentil
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by Pegge Bochynski

 

 

Located on the Charles River, six miles northwest of Boston, Massachusetts, Watertown is one of the oldest cities in the state and boasts a distinctive multicultural population. Armenian, Irish, Italian, Canadian, and Greek immigrants have enriched the town’s history—and cuisine—and the main street is dotted with ethnic restaurants and markets. Red Lentil stands out, however, as the only eatery in Watertown dedicated to serving vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free foods. Inspired by the ethnic diversity of the city, master chef Pankaj Pradhan creates delicious dishes drawn from Indian, Moroccan, Mexican, Italian, Latin, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cultures.

 

Red Lentil Exterior

Red Lentil Exterior

 

Because we are amateur genealogists, we frequently visit Mount Auburn Cemetery, a national historic site located about a mile down the street from Red Lentil. We had heard glowing reports of the restaurant, so we decided to check it out after our morning walk at Mount Auburn. Our friends’ recommendations were not exaggerated.

Red Lentil is situated on a busy street corner on the main street of Watertown. Windows surround the building letting in plenty of light, which gives the interior an open, airy feel. The mid-sized space is simply furnished with tables and chairs reminiscent of a luncheonette.  Although the interior design is not what one would call trendy, the food definitely is.

 

Red Lentil Interior

Red Lentil Interior

 

The menu is varied and extensive, offering a plethora of dishes that would appeal to any palate. For example, the Vegan Caesar Salad with homemade croutons ($10) and the vegan and gluten-free Sea Vegetable Salad featuring citrus-marinated arame and hijiki ($8.50) are ideal if you want a light but satisfying lunch.  Appetizers include a Portobello Sauté composed of a mushroom cap simmered in white wine, garlic, shallots, and olive oil ($7.50); Gobi Manchurian, featuring cauliflower tossed with Indian seasons, breaded with chickpea flour, and then fried ($8.00); and pan-seared Sesame Encrusted Seitan Strips ($8.00).

 

Red Lentil Reuben

Red Lentil Reuben

 

The luncheon entrees are more conventional than the appetizers or salads, but are just as appealing and reasonably priced. The Tuscan Portobello Sandwich ($9.00), Mediterranean Wrap ($9.00), Panini ($9.00), and Zen Veggie Burger ($8.50) all caught our eye. Because of the variety, it was hard to make a selection, but finally my luncheon companion settled on the Tempeh Reuben Sandwich with sweet potato fries ($9.00), and I selected the breakfast hash ($7.00), one of the daily specials. (NB: Apparently the owner never repeats his daily specials, so this particular hash recipe was a one-time deal).

 

Red Lentil Breakfast Hash

Red Lentil Breakfast Hash

 

My companion raved about the Reuben. The hearty dish consisted of thinly sliced, grilled tempeh; grilled onion and tomato; vegan Russian dressing; and organic sauerkraut on whole wheat bread. A generous side of sweet potato fries completed the entree. The sandwich’s combination of ingredients made for a very satisfying meal, and the crunchy sweet potatoes were fried to perfection with no greasy residue or aftertaste. The hash was composed of potatoes, red pepper, asparagus, baby spinach, and onions, and then topped with goat cheese. The dish was filling and the blend of flavors delightful—although the plentiful potato somewhat overpowered the other vegetables.  Next time I plan to try Sweet Potato Quesadilla ($9.50) from the regular menu.

 

Red Lentil Reuben Sandwich

Red Lentil Reuben Sandwich

 

In addition to lunch, dinner, and brunch menus (see theredlentil.com for a full listing), Red Lentil also offers a variety of fresh juices, organic bottled juices, and smoothies. The vegan beer and wine list changes with the seasons.  A children’s menu offers three or four items.

Capturing accolades on the national as well as the local level, Red Lentil has been featured in the Wall Street Journal; boston.com; edible Boston; and BostonHerald.com. The eatery is also the recipient of the well-deserved 2013 People’s Choice Nature’s Plate Award for Massachusetts and the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate Award for Excellence.

Located at 600 Mount Auburn Street in Watertown, Red Lentil is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Call (617) 972-9189.

Pegge Bochynski is a freelance writer who has published more than 150 articles and book reviews in print and on the web for a variety of publishers, including Salem Press, Oxford University Press, Marshall Cavendish, and Thompson-Gale.

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