A classic (vegetarian) burger at PlantPub
It might not be haute fashionable, but it is cozy, clean and inviting. I’m talking about PlantPub, the cool little vegetarian eatery with a select beer and vino menu in Kendall Square that’s the place to be seen if you’re climate conscious and proud of it; the beef industry is attributed with being one of the biggest environmental offenders. The burger joint opened Sept. 24 without a lot of indoor dining space, thus that “cozy” tag, but the outside dining area is top-notch, with solid, spartan-styled picnic tables under a building overhang. It protects you from the elements and lets you use a laptop without solar glare blanking out the screen while you sip on a cold beer and nosh on a tasty burger (said like Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”).
If you want a good, old-school American Burger, the kind you might get at Friendly’s or Fuddruckers but sans the beef, PlantPub is your stop. I had the “classic” Impossible burger, which came with just the basics: crisp, fresh lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and a slice of glorious American cheez. It arrived piled high on an airy bun, delivered to my table outside by friendly, eager staff, and went down fast – satiating, clean comfort food. You can also get a burger with kimchi or barbecue guacamole style, and there’s an option to have your base be a housemade veggie patty. Generally I’m drawn to Impossible and Beyond meatless options because I’m ever fearful of overly breaded or riced veggie patties where the burger experience becomes like eating bread within bread. I need to get over that. The menu at PlantPub is tightly focused, but there’s also a fried chicken sando as well as bowls (a ramen-based offering and fried chicken tahini) and pizzas (classic Margherita and Buffalo chicken). There are even vegan frappes and ice cream. How cool that the owners, chef Mary Dumont and beer aficionado Pat McAuley, have teamed up on the social angle of sustainability and clean, healthy animal-friendly food. On my visit, as I chowed down on that “tasty burger,” I washed it back with an intriguing ale called Pulp Culture Relax, light citrus love in a can from California. I’ll be back soon to nosh and chill, low-carbon-imprint style.
Cambridge writer Tom Meek’s reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.