Move Over, Rosebud: Central’s New Veggie Galaxy Is Cambridge Diner Central

21 Sep

Inside the intergalactically delicious Veggie Galaxy. TMMV 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: this is a restaurant review by someone who very rarely goes to restaurants. I have the good fortune to be someone with a lot of friends who are incredible cooks, someone with good food so frequently available to her that I can rarely justify the expense of a meal out on the town. But based on Veggie Planet’s deliciousness and my love of classic diners, I knew that Veggie Galaxy would be an exception to my rule, and once I tasted the meat-free treats, I had to share the good news!

Central Square’s brand new Veggie Galaxy is another project from the wonderful Didi Emmons, who brought us Veggie Planet at Harvard Square (nestled neatly under Club Passim), Haley House Bakery Café in Dudley Square, and several more upscale Cambridge eateries. Emmons is also the author of an inspired line of vegetarian cookbooks focusing on fresh ingredients from close to home. Emmon’s book Entertaining for a Veggie Planet has inspired me to seek out my own, inner y’alternative Martha Stewart over the past year. (exhibit a: bourbon cider from the beginning-of-fall party I hosted. Mulled apple cider + Simple cinnamon sugar and ginger syrup + Maker’s Mark = bevvictory!)

Shaped like a double-wide old train car diner, and styled like the 1950s in outer space, VG packs its punches in hip, friendly waitstaff, cool décor, and most of all, blast-off, out of this world delicious space food light years away from Tang. (…Should I not have? Impossible.)

The diner seems to specialize in vegetarian/vegan versions of classic diner fare, such as a facon B.L.T., grilled seitan and greens, and Vegetable Tofu pot pie. I was so overwhelmed by the percentage of entrees I could eat (at most restaurants it’s about 12%- yet another reason I don’t often eat out.) I could literally eat 100% of the food on the menu- thrilling! Literally, all of it, in one sitting. I could lay waste to that appealing-ass menu. Vegetable nom.

In the end I couldn’t decide on one entree, so I ordered a smattering of sides including the soup special of the day, Caramelized Onion Soup. This I was very excited about because back in my omnivorous days I used to love French Onion Soup, but have never been able to find a decent version that doesn’t use beef stock.  The soup ended up tasting rather eggplant-y, and the consistency was thicker than I’d hoped.  It would have been better with cheese, but still it was pretty tasty. (Most of the menu is vegan, or has a vegan option available.)

Hash was my next epicurean adventure. The hash came with potatoes and salty, spicy seitan.  It was my first time ever getting to try the diner standby! I loaded it up with ketchup and sriracha from their cute little ‘racha saucer, and it was delicious. A little more sodium than I usually consume in a week, though. (Guessing here based on taste alone- I don’t know the actual caloric/nutritional values of anything I consumed at VG, and I don’t want to). Totally, totally worth it.

Dessert Cupboard at Veggie Galaxy. TMMV 2011. All Rights Reserved.

My last dinner item was a black pepper biscuit, yet another item that I was thrilled to see on the menu. As a Southerner I often crave biscuits since I moved north. Other than those baked in my own kitchen I’ve yet to find any comparable to Georgia quality, fluffy-layered, sweet corn-colored biscuits. VG’s pepper biscuits weren’t exactly Southern-style, but smothered in butter or some butter-like substance, they were moist and damn delicious. One qualm, though- with this and with the lemon merengue pie (vegan merengue! Yes! How the eff did they do that?!), the prices did seem a little overinflated to me. $2.95 for a single biscuit? $6.50 for a smallish piece of pie? Knock these off by a dollar or half, and a little more old-school charming diner cred would be bestowed. But everything was so good, I can forgive the interstellar aliens.

Lemon Merengue pie ends our meal. TMMV 2011. All Rights Reserved.

So, whether it’s for a tame weeknight catching up with a dear friend, as I was, or a post-church brunch, or a go-to after a soulful, raging night of dancing at Zuzu’s, Veggie Galaxy must be the place.


One Response to “Move Over, Rosebud: Central’s New Veggie Galaxy Is Cambridge Diner Central”

  1. thoroughly modern milli vanilli September 22, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Count me in for a Zuzu + VG rager!!

    -D $

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