Photos and Words by Samantha Wood
Crammed into the corner of Cambridge Street and Brighton Avenue in Allston, Root is just another alternative joint in a burgeoning area that houses a vegan Asian restaurant, a vegan ice cream place, and a wholesome bar.
Root follows the same concept; its vegan menu focuses on local food that is “fresh, tasty, conscious, feel-good, friendly...the way food should be.” The inspired food and juicery was founded earlier this year and boasts a staff of general manager Scott Rawdon and Hanna Pink and Jonathan Quinones on the culinary team. The store serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks.
On a recent Saturday night, the restaurant was packed, which is easy to do in such a small space. There are no servers, so customers order at the counter and their food is brought to them when it’s ready. There is also the to-go option.
As a former vegan, I was familiar with many of the items on the menu and was looking forward to sampling another take on a plant-based diet. I chose to go with the L.A. Wrap ($9), a filling organic wrap stuffed with basil hummus, sprouts, arugula, red onion, pickled carrot, tomato, cucumber, avocado and red cabbage slaw. It was served alongside Root’s herbed fries, rustic cut fries tossed in fresh parsley and herb-infused olive oil with house made ketchup on the side. The lightly salted fries complemented the fresh veggies perfectly.
My friend ordered the Root Burger ($9), a house made black bean and quinoa burger with Boston lettuce, tomato, crispy onions and garlic aioli. My friend opted to replace the aioli with the creamy thyme sauce. The burger was spicy and tangy and the thick bun cushioned the crispy onions and slightly crunchy burger. Fitting the entire thing in my mouth was a pleasant challenge.
My third companion is still a vegan and she ordered a small Curried Quinoa Salad ($5 small/$8 large) that was comprised of golden quinoa, chickpeas, red onion, parsley, walnuts and raisins topped with a creamy curry dressing served on Boston lettuce. One bite was enough to bring back memories of Indian food and the savory flavors that go along with it. This is one salad that will fill you up without a problem. Salads at Root can also be served in a wrap.
Water was served out of a glass dispenser into mason jars and utensils were served on a self-serve basis. It took a while for the forks to come out of the dishwasher, something Root may want to address as it gains more prominence among its customers.
The decorations adorning the walls were unique and homey, emphasizing the local element of the restaurant. The open kitchen proves that Root has nothing to hide about its fresh ingredients and the bicycle tires hanging on the wall take the idea of sustainable living to a decorative level. The pails of utensils place customers in the garden where all of Root’s menu items originated, evidenced by the plants scattered around the restaurant.
Walking out of Root, I didn’t feel as if I had stumbled upon anything new. The plant-based and local restaurants have become something of a trend in the Boston area. But that does not mean it takes away from Root’s appeal. Supporting local farms is something every restaurant should consider advocating and Root is contributing to that vision with its inspired offerings.
Root: Inspired Food & Juicery 487 Cambridge Street Allston, Massachusetts 617-208-6091
Hours, subject to change: Monday-Thursday: 11am-10pm Friday: 11am-11pm Saturday: 9:30am-11pm Sunday: 9:30am-10pm
BRUNCH: Saturday and Sunday: 9:30am-2:30pm