True Bistro, Somerville MA
On Friday night, Funk and I had date night at a restaurant in Somerville I’ve been meaning to try: True Bistro. It opened within a year or so, I believe, and is a straight-up, all vegan restaurant. In fact, it’s the only all vegan restaurant I can think of in the area that doesn’t serve a crumb of any non-vegan ingredients. Usually when Funk and I go out to eat, our eyes head straight to the seafood section of a menu, since we do eat fish, but avoid all other meat and dairy. Typically if there are two fish dishes on the menu, it narrows down the choices for us and that’s what we order. Usually the vegetarian options are boring pasta or hummus type dishes that I could just as easily make at home. But when we go to vegan restaurants like True Bistro, it’s almost overwhelming to look at the menu and know you can choose anything. From any section. In fact, the pressure was on! We wanted to make sure we got the best meals from the menu.
We each started with a glass of wine and settled on the cornmeal crusted oyster mushrooms that came with a horseradish dill aioli dipping sauce. The mushrooms were SO meaty that Funk didn’t even realize they were mushrooms, and resembled the texture of chicken nuggets. The cornmeal crust was so nice and crispy, and while I typically don’t like any sort of creamy aioli sauces, the horseradish dill complemented the appetizer perfectly.
I had my eye on a tempeh dish, but our server told me it wasn’t a favorite, and nudged me towards the Hyderbadi stuffed eggplant with coconut basmati rice, apricot chutney and kachumber (cabbage) salad. Someone else had told me this dish was their favorite so I went for it. It was good, but not amazing. I felt like I could have just as easily made eggplant and coconut rice as home, and needed to add a little salt.
Funk ordered the Phyllo purse, which was stuffed with seitan, roasted winter squash, green mole, arugula, and pepitas. He also liked but didn’t love his dish.
I was too full for dessert but Funk ordered the vegan ice cream sandwich, which was non-dairy ice cream sandwiched between two vegan chocolate chip cookies. He loved it. Can you tell?
We left feeling mixed. We loved the fact that it was a nice restaurant, and the food was enjoyable, but not mind-blowingly so. We’ve been spoiled with some amazing vegan restaurants in our travels to San Francisco and NYC, and I guess we were just hoping for a little more from Boston’s new vegan restaurant. We agreed that we would go back, since it is nice to have an entire menu to choose from without having to omit the cheese, or swap the chicken for tofu and look forward to trying some other menu options.
Stay tuned…later in the week I’ll tell you about the a-ma-zing vegan brunch I had at another veg restaurant in Boston: Veggie Galaxy!