In today’s society, it’d be pretty common for any given city to have its selection of quintessential vegetarian restaurants. Usually containing a minimalist aesthetic, with locally discovered artists’ works adorning the walls and filled with people you’d expect to see on an episode of Portlandia. Not that there is anything wrong with these restaurants—I actually frequent establishments like this on a regular basis—but there are times where I crave something other than, well, quintessential “vegetarian food.”
To say that walking past The Grasshopper Café on a Saturday afternoon when I found myself craving Asian food was divine intervention may be an overstatement, but it was the happiest of accidents. Grasshopper, a restaurant located a few blocks from the Harvard Avenue stop on the Green line, serves Vietnamese food that is entirely vegan. It was almost too good to be true.
I dragged my roommate there one weekday evening for dinner, which happened to be a great time to go. The restaurant was pretty empty since most people aren’t out to dinner at 5 o’clock on a Tuesday. The seating is all housed in one open room that takes on a blue-green glow through the tinted glass of the light fixtures. Having done a bit of research on Yelp before dining at Grasshopper, I learned from over a hundred reviewers that the “no-name” was the dish to try, so I ordered that along with a seaweed salad my roommate and I intended to split.
Sipping on the complimentary Jasmine tea, I waited in excited anticipation for my dish to arrive. I only had to wait a few minutes until the waitress brought us our entrees. The no-name consisted of battered gluten (a meat substitute) covered in a sort of sweet and sour sauce and topped with sesame seeds, served over steamed vegetables. The portion was enough to feed three people, but when I tasted that first bite, I realized that I could probably finish the entire thing myself.
Aside from their famous no-name, Grasshopper serves meatless alternatives to all of the traditional Vietnamese dishes. Whether or not you eat meat, you’ll like Grasshopper because it serves great food—simple as that. It’s a more adventurous alternative to just ordering a tofu dish off of any number of Asian restaurants, and it’s much more satisfying.
Though it may be unappealing to want to go all the way to Allston just to have dinner, it’s a unique opportunity to try something new and delicious while not having to worry about arriving there and not being able to order anything. Plus, the enormous portions mean you won’t have to worry about making lunch the next day. It’s important to take advantage of all of the great places around you while you’re at school in a city where these options are virtually endless, so do yourself a favor and add Grasshopper to your vegetarian to-do list.