A few weeks ago I had a business trip to Boston. I made my hotel reservations late and I was lucky to get a hotel room. I’m not sure why there was a shortage of hotel rooms but I venture to guess it was a combination of conferences and back to school for colleges. I booked a room in Cambridge at midnight, the night before my trip. At the end of the day I checked into my hotel room and then went back down to the concierge to get my bearings as well as a few restaurant recommendations to choose from. The concierge handed me an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with a map on one side and a list of restaurants on the other. She asked what I was looking for and I asked for some ethnic options … they usually have good vegan options.
I decided to walk a few blocks up Massachusetts Avenue to a nearby Thai restaurant since it was a beautiful summer evening and I love Thai food. On my short walk up from my hotel, as I scanned the shops on both sides of the Avenue, I noticed a restaurant with large glass windows and a sign that read “Veggie Galaxy”. The restaurant was packed and there were people reading the menu in the window out front.
I decided to press on another couple blocks to see what the Thai option looked like. It was all but empty … not a good sign at dinner time, especially not compared to the Veggie Galaxy. I turned around and headed back. It was a good thing I did … it turned out to be one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve ever dined in. It reminded me of the Chicago Diner, another veggie restaurant that I loved the few times I’ve had the opportunity to visit while in Chicago.
When I walked into Veggie Galaxy I was first greeted by a tall spinning desert case. And a line. I waited to talk to the hostess who was covered from her neck to her wrists in ink. So far things were looking up. I had to wait a solid fifteen minutes but was then seated on a bar stool right in front of the kitchen. Veggie Galaxy is a diner style restaurant and it seems that 90% of the food is fried. That works for me.
The menu was classic diner style with veggie interpretations of the finest diner food. As I was sitting in front of the grill I was able to watch quite a bit of food being made to order and I was able to ask the head chef for his recommendation. He asked me if I was a vegetarian to which I replied … “yes”. He said, “I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve had fish and chips, but that’s what I’d recommend. It’s the closest thing you’ll taste to authentic fish and chips.”
Hew was absolutely right! The fish and chips were delicious and I topped them off with a “Zebra Shake”. A Zebra Shake is about 99% sugar and 100% delicious. Ice cold vegan vanilla ice cream blended and poured into a cold malt glass that has been lined with zig-zags of chocolate sauce. Oh, and the vegan tartar sauce was awesome.
I was curious to know how the chef pulled this off. The “fish” was made of deep fried tofu and I think a lot of the taste had to do with the tartar sauce. But I learned that the head chef is not a vegetarian. And maybe that’s why the items taste so authentic. He was very personable and I don’t think I’ve seen a kitchen staff work as well together, especially since I found out they had only been open for two weeks. I also learned that many of the servers are not vegetarian — despite their grunge look, piercings and tattoos.
I really admire what this crew has done. I think the concept is great and I hope they stay as busy as they were that night. If you get to Cambridge in Boston I highly encourage you to dine there. I understand they’ll be serving breakfast soon too.