Winner of the 2013 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Award!
June 6, 2013 – Red Lentil today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.
To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.
“The Red Lentil is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Pankaj Pradhan, Owner and Head Chef. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”
“TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience,” said Alison Copus, Vice President of Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”
25 Best Burgers Around Boston
Watertown’s Red Lentil chef-owner Pankaj Pradhan says he named the restaurant’s vegan patty the Zen burger because it represents “everything in one burger.” And so it is, as the thick, tasty patty is made from black beans, brown rice, onion, carrot, celery, rice flour, seasonings, and fresh herbs. A dash of gluten-free soy sauce lends a rich, savory flavor. Seared and served with homemade Thousand Island dressing, caramelized onions, baby greens, and tomato, the burger is indeed an edible symbol of completeness. Read more.
Meat-free dining in the Boston area
Seitan, Tempeh, And Tofu, Oh My! Boston’s Vegan Scene Is Growing
The Boston vegan scene is also growing. In the last 18 months, four new vegan restaurants have set up shop in the area.
Boston’s Vegan, Vegetarian and Raw Restaurants
By many popular standards, greater Boston’s restaurant scene is hot. From appearances on popular cooking shows to high national rankings, our chefs, their restaurants and individual dishes have put our region on the culinary map. Thanks to them—and to diners who increasingly care about what they eat, where it comes from and its effects on their bodies and the environment, our local cuisine is no longer defined by Yankee pot roast, baked beans and clam chowder. Lots of times it doesn’t even involve animals. Or cooking.
As the general restaurant community has been gaining prestige, its vegetarian, vegan and raw segment has been experiencing parallel growth. In the last 18 months, a vegan pizzeria, high-end vegan restaurant, raw vegan and second location of a much-loved, established vegetarian restaurant have opened in and around Boston. According to Evelyn Kimber, president of the Boston Vegetarian Society, there has been a “great burgeoning of interest in vegetarianism” in this area in recent years. “There’s much greater availability of vegetarian and vegan options on restaurant menus,” she says. (In the simplest terms, vegetarians do not eat animal flesh; vegans do not use or consume animal products of any kind.)
Chef Pradhan Brings a World of Experience to Red Lentil
World travel, a vegetarian childhood and a passion for fresh ingredients are what have led Chef Pankaj Pradhan to great success with his year-old vegetarian restaurant, Red Lentil. With a charming smile and a booming laugh, Chef Pankaj makes things at the restaurant seem easy and fun, but he is all business when it comes to his cooking.
Within bright green and red walls, exposed brick and wood floors lies a cuisine all its own. With influences varying from Mexican and Latin to Jewish and Indian, the menu at Red Lentil shows the expanse of options available to local vegetarians and this is what the chef says keeps him on his toes. He believes the key to success at his first restaurant is keeping the menu fresh and honest, with daily specials that he says he never offers more than once.
Colleen Thompson: Where did it all begin for you?
Chef Pankaj: I’m from India, grew up in Calcutta which is on the east coast and went to boarding school in New Delhi which is in the north. I always had the passion for cooking. After undergrad, I took a test to get free education. I got into the best culinary school in India (Institute of Advanced Management). I graduated and then got a job on Carnival Cruise Lines as head chef. Did that for three years, went to 40 different countries. This gave me a passion about cooking on a wider spectrum. I hated the cooking on the cruise. Some days I made 200 pounds of prime rib or sirloin steak. Awful. But I went to Mexico every week almost. I love everything relating to South American food, without the meat of course. I would get off the boat and someone would make me fresh guacamole, right there. You know, with the stone. I just loved the way they made it.
Vegans will have no beef with Red Lentil
Once the only dedicated vegetarian dining options in Boston were Moosewood-inspired, crunchy granola eateries. Those were followed by the vegetarian and vegan Thai-Vietnamese-Chinese places that opened in the mid-1990s in Chinatown and Allston-Brighton.
Say hello to Red Lentil. This new Watertown vegetarian and vegan restaurant refuses to be constrained by stereotypes. It considers vegetarian and vegan cooking to be liberating – not limiting.
Indeed, you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to dine here. You just have to enjoy eating. But vegetarians and vegans will be in friendly territory; any vegetarian item can be ordered vegan.
At Red Lentil, you’ll find unabashedly all-vegetable dishes made without animal products (no eggs, butter, cream) as well as meatless dishes meant to mimic the taste and flavor of meat.
Those include beet-potato latkes ($6.50) – patties of slivered beets, sweet potatoes, dates and apples dappled with apricot sauce and cilantro vinaigrette. And spongy, soy chicken strips ($6.50), you can dip into ketchupy barbecue sauce. Beefy panko-covered portobello mushroom strips ($7) flirt with being burnt.
Chef owneandr Pankaj Pradhan’s menu travels the world.
Red Lentil Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant – No meat? No problem.
By now everyone knows Red Lentil is dog-plays-the-piano good. It’s the best all-vegetarian and lots-vegan restaurant Boston has ever had. The question before us is: is it actually good-good? Would a carnivore in the mood for vegetables go there? I think so.
The chefs use fresh vegetables, often organic. They fry things. They do exotic. On the other hand, they don’t always do exotic quite right. If you are going to have Mexican pizza ($12), for instance, you can put avocado, black beans, corn, and actual cheese (sorry, vegans) on it, but you can’t really add mango. I know the non-vegetarians do that ham-and-pineapple pizza and call it Hawaiian. But without ham in the cupboard, you need either a saltier cheese or olives.
The emerging signature appetizer, gobi Manchurian ($7.50), is actually the kind of Indian take on Chinese food that the Delhi-born chef grew up on. Batter-fried cauliflower with Indian spices is stir-fried with red and green bell peppers and onions in a little tomato sauce. Both fry jobs are impeccable, and the dish is irresistible. Although it is listed as an appetizer, it’s the size of many Chinese and Indian entrées meant for sharing.
Best of the New: Food and Restaurants
A bright addition in Watertown’s Coolidge Square, from the spring-green walls to the cafe’s globe-trotting menu, all of which is vegan or vegetarian. Choices include Mexican pizza, grilled tofu with a tandoori marinade, and pan-seared portobello mushrooms with mango chutney. And you can’t go wrong with the sweet potato quesadilla.
Vegetarians and vegans have a new restaurant choice at Watertown’s Red Lentil
When Pankaj Pradhan opened Red Lentil, he wanted to do vegan and vegetarian differently. Instead of focusing on one type of cuisine, Pradhan decided to build a menu that has a little bit of everything – except meat.
“It’s a way of bringing vegetarian and vegan food to people,” he said. “I, myself, am a vegetarian and I like to eat healthy, fresh, organic food.”
Red Lentil’s menu has dishes from around the world, including pizza, nachos and a vegan Rueben.
Pradhan said the key to making tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes is knowing the ingredients and how to season them.
“To put a plate together, it takes a lot of dedication,” he said.
After years as a vegetarian chef, Pradhan decided to strike out on his own. Initially, he wanted to set up shop in Cambridge.
“I was looking for someplace in Cambridge where Harvard and MIT are to provide nutritional food for the students,” said Pradhan.
But rent in the People’s Republic was too steep and Red Lentil found a home in Coolidge Square.
“It was the first location I saw and I said I’d go for it,” Pradhan said.
Red Lentil is a savory haven for vegans
When their food arrives, diners here sit and stare at their plates, which are colorful, architectural, and beautiful. Nirvana delight ($13), grilled tofu marinated in tandoori spices, comes as two thick triangles leaning on a pedestal of quinoa salad with lush spinach, beet relish, and a cucumber-yogurt sauce. The aromatic, tender bean curd and its crisp edges are slightly spicy, and the grain salad is flecked with the tiniest pieces of bell and hot peppers, yellow squash, and zucchini. Spinach seems to have been cooked just until the leaves sigh on the plate.
Health food mecca? More restaurants honor vegetarian, vegan, raw food philosophies
The Boston area isn’t generally thought of as a health food mecca. Prime rib, fried seafood, boiled dinner: These dishes represent our conservative culinary roots. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the vegetarian, vegan, and raw restaurants that thrive in other cities have cropped up at a slower pace here.
Yet eating for health has a long history in the area. Macrobiotic pioneer Michio Kushi established the Kushi Institute in the Boston area in the late 1970s. Ann Wigmore, the grandmother of the raw food diet, started schools here a decade before that. With a large population of curious and adventurous students, this seems a natural market for restaurateurs catering to alternative diets.
This past year has seen a marked shift in that direction. A vegetarian restaurant, a vegan pizzeria, and three raw, vegan restaurants all opened in the fall. Another vegan restaurant, Vej Naturals, is in the midst of relocating from a tiny spot in Malden to a space three times its size in Somerville’s Davis Square. The new restaurant, to be called the Pulse Cafe, is slated to open later this month or early next month.