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Veggie Planet

Off Campus | October 24, 2010

Cohabiting in a space with Folk Music venue Club Passim, nestled beneath the trendy boutique LF, and just across the street from Lizzy’s, a gourmet ice cream shop, Veggie Planet is in a particularly hip corner of Harvard Square. The name Veggie Planet might be a) silly and b) immediately unappealing to the general meat-eating population but I suggest you take a hint from Shakespeare and look beyond the name. Though every dish they serve is either vegan or vegetarian, their menu is inviting for even the pickiest eater.

Filled with equal parts progressive yuppie parents and their kids, folksy old folks, and offbeat 20-somethings, the space itself has little ambiance. Regardless, the vibe is warm and inviting and when I ate there for Sunday brunch, an 11-string classical guitarist provided a lovely soundtrack to my meal.

The menu at veggie planet is odd, to say the least. Every dish on the front page is designed to be served as a pizza on the most socially conscious dough I have ever encountered (dairy free, organic, and produced locally by a non-profit that helps unemployed men and women become economically independent) but can be ordered on rice or as an omelet. This seemed strange to me until I discovered that their version of pizza is very different from anything I’m used to. Because Pizza is the veggie planet specialty I chose to order the day’s special pizza with fresh figs, sautéed spinach, goat cheese, and chipotle sauce. It was divine. The crust itself was cut into two rectangular slices and tasted more like flatbread than pizza dough. The figs were cooked perfectly and piled on top of a generous expanse of warm, creamy goat cheese. Though delicious, the pairing of fig and goat cheese is hardly original. The really inspired aspect of the dish was the chipotle drizzle, adding an entirely unexpected twist to the dish. I also sampled the “safe and sound” pizza, the Veggie Planet version of a plain. It was just as good as the special though obviously more basic. With asiago and mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato, extremely fragrant basil, and fried garlic it was more like bruschetta than anything else.

Veggie Planet also serves a variety of salads, a special soup, and granola, waffles, and special breakfast pizzas during brunch. The service, provided by cute and crunchy looking college kids, is a bit slow but friendly and helpful.  Coffee (fair trade of course), tea, and water are self-service, reinforcing the communal feel of the restaurant. At around $10, a meal at Veggie Planet is well worth an excursion off Tufts campus. While you’re at it you could even catch a folk music concert, or head upstairs to find a very fashionable (if expensive) dress for the next big party.