Red Lentil (V), Watertown

via GrubHub

Arrived: 1:29
Ordered: 1:01pm
Menu Options: Menu Options:
GF Labelled?: GF Labelled?:
Food Quality: Experience Quality:
Server Knowledge: Server Knowledge:

Red Lentil
600 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown

I’m always especially pleased to find restaurants in Watertown that I really enjoy. I have mentioned before that we are somewhat devoid of food offerings, which makes ordering in a massive hassle since no where wants to deliver to my quaint little abode on the river.

Not to mention that most food places that are willing are pretty American standards. We have pizza, subs, Chinese, and Indian – that’s about it. I grew up with a much more exciting palate, so this leaves me rather…..lacking.

I blame my mother. She’s the one who introduced me to what spice was, and new and exciting foods from far off places. One of my favorite pictures of me as a child, I’m sitting in a high chair wearing dinosaur pajamas, with my feet braced on the edge of the table and my face smothered in food.

When I was still in kindergarten, I remember my sister and I begging our mother to bring us to the local Armenian bakery for Lamejun and braided string cheese (if you haven’t had Armenian string cheese before – seriously, you’re missing out).

Then there’s my first restaurant experience. I don’t remember what kind of food it was, but imprinted forever in my mind is an image of our big group sitting on brightly colored cushions on the floor around a low table eating with our hands. I was in heaven.

It is no wonder then that as I got older, the standard American foods that we all eat in this dreary country became lackluster, and I decided to dabble in alternative diets.

Which I suppose brings us to today.

My previous post regaling you all about the joys of Green Leaf in Framingham – that hidden gem of vegan delight – included my introduction to Gobi Manchurian. Those spicy morsels of crunchy cauliflower which bring the sensation of a bright and brazen sun’s heat and aromatic winds over sand.

Of course the restaurant would be located much too far for any repeat visits on a whim. I had to find an alternative supplier. And you can imagine how ecstatic I was to find one right here in my town.

Oh Glory Days!!!

So let me introduce to the joy of Gobi Manchuran à la Red Lentil


Look at it glisten with gooey tomatoey goodness. The transparent onions enticing you to have a bite.


Each floret of cauliflower is battered lightly, then dredged in its spicy sweet sauce.

The whole thing is slowly simmered with chunks of green pepper and caramelized onions. The best bits are the darker ones, full of crunch and happiness.

I thoroughly recommend you get this dish fresh, as right out of the pan, the cauliflower is crisp and hot, begging you to indulge.

However, I understand that means leaving the house. And pants. *shudder*

So I will remind you that delivery is always going to be a little less. The problem with something like this, along with french fries and anything else that’s supposed to be served fresh and crisp, that it loses much of its satisfying crunch in transit. Part of this might be due to the container – plastic, while not soaking up any of the delicious sauce does still have the downfall of creating something of a greenhouse effect. That is to say, it keeps the contents in a very moist environment. And unfortunately, that environment does not promote crispiness.

Though many of the bites did have that delicious crunch, some sadly fell victim to excess moisture in the container and – while maintaining deliciousness – became somewhat soft.

Compared to the Green Leaf, their Gobi is spiced, but not as spicy – choosing instead a more savory sweet to really highlight each of the flavors its ingredients include. With each bite, you can pinpoint the separate tastes of cauliflower, tomato, and coating easily, as well as the crunchy bell pepper and sweet onion bites.

I have ordered other items from Red Lentil as well in the past. I’ve had their polenta cakes, and polenta bites (love polenta), which came with equally tasty sauces to be soaked up with that grainy goodness. Apparently their sweet potato quesadilla is also good, though it is not gluten free. They do have a gluten free tortilla though, so I’m sure that you could request it as substitute opening up even more of the menu to your tastebuds.

I have not done so yet, but might in the future if I can convince someone to go with me to eat at the restaurant.

The menu itself has each of its items labelled GF, Vegan, and/or Vegetarian, as well as Soy Free, which is especially allergen friendly. So I give them 5 stars for that.

As it’s winter (and winter means soup), I also ordered their red lentil soup bowl – which is, somewhat ironically, bright yellow.

I admit, not my favorite soup. Very lentil, no salt. It has a lot of liquid, so not quite as “meaty” as, say, mediterranean lentil soup which is by far my favorite. But it is satisfying, and a good place to start, or if you want something fibrous but aren’t especially hungry.

Back to the Gobi, each order looks like a small portion, but I can promise you it is enough for a meal on its own. I just gobbled mine down and find myself ready for a nap.

I feel like this obsession I have with this dish is just begging me to try and recreate it at home. About a month back, I did a bunch of googling and found a few recipes and even bought up a bunch of the ingredients with the goal of giving it a go. But I admit, it is a bit daunting. While the directions are simple enough, I don’t know – there’s a lot of ingredients, and I fear that without proper training I’m going to fail miserably and end up utterly disappointed.

I had a very entertaining conversation about this with a friend a while back – she understands my pain. This is one of her favorite dishes and restaurants as well. We discussed the possibility of trying our hand at making it, which was met with uneasy optimism so who knows – maybe my next post about this dish of divinity will be in the form of a cooking class.

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