Ok, I’ll say it. Often, when a vegan restaurant opens, only those who prefer to dine animal-product-free have much cause to rejoice. Not so with True Bistro, an upscale vegan eatery that opened in Somerville’s Teele Square this fall.
Here, dietary principles don’t trump flavor. A foodie runs the kitchen, and the result is that even the most skeptical carnivore will likely never miss the meat. Add to that a spare, gray-on-white décor so calming that it’s spa-like and reasonable prices, and you could go either way here: it’s elegant enough for a special night out and affordable enough to nab a casual lunch.
Lunch, dinner and a lengthy weekend brunch menu are served in the petit, roughly 30-seat storefront. A full wine menu is offered as well. Kids can dine on side orders of veggies or comfort classics like mac n’ cheese or French fries.
Notable is that the kitchen can take healthy but often heavy or overbearing ingredients and tease out their delicate flavors. Black bean soup is light and velvety with a hint of chili heat. Winter squash bisque is creamy and rich with fall flavor without feeling heavy. Mesclun salad has just the right shimmer of a zesty lemon-caper vinaigrette rather than a dousing.
Enough entrees are naturally vegan that you can avoid meat substitutes like seitan if you prefer. Cornmeal-crusted, juicy oyster mushrooms folded into warm, soft tacos with cool green salsa and cilantro is just one of the standouts. For lunch, a Vietnamese style banh mi sandwich is a treat with nicely chewy tofu, crisp pickled veggies and fresh cilantro set on a crusty French bread.
This location has proven unlucky for the last two tenants, but if word spreads, this one just may be a keeper—for vegans and meat-eaters alike.
- Where: 1153 Broadway, Teele Square, Somerville | 617-627-9000
- Price range (entrees): Lunch, $6-$10; Dinner, $15-$17
- Noise Level: On the quiet side; kids are welcome, but best to go early
- Kid-friendly rating, 1-5: 3 (menu choices and booster seats, but formal)
- Romance rating, 1-5: 5, elegant and special
- Special menus: Nut-free and gluten-free menus available, Vegan
Ratings go from 1 (lowest) to 5 (best).