NOTE: Red Lentil New Haven has closed. Their Watertown, MA location remains open.
After launching my NewHavenEats blog, several friends reminded me not to forget restaurants specializing in vegetarian or vegan choices. They suggested their favorite: Red Lentil, offering a contemporary fusion of cuisines from around the world. The dishes – often gluten-free – are vegetarian or vegan, or can be made vegan.
Pankaj Pradhan, the chef and owner, first trained as a chef in his native India. Like star chef Marcus Samuelsson, Pradhan joined a cruise line and worked in food services, traveling to 40 countries and expanding his culinary repertoire. He opened his first Red Lentil vegetarian restaurant in Boston in 2009, then brought the enterprise to its Temple Street location in New Haven, just across the street from the Criterion Cinemas.
An East Asian influence is evident in the menu, but Pradhan prides himself on including tastes from all over the world including the Americas and Europe. The warm and welcoming wait staff is a decided highlight of the Red Lentil. Friendly and outgoing, they serve fragrant dishes in a dining room with walls the color of kaffir lime. Dedicated carnivores may just be won over by the delights of The Red Lentil’s vegetarian dishes.
Restaurant Website: http://theredlentil.com/location-home
• The Detes: 25 Temple St. New Haven • 203-891-7105 • Open seven days, generally 11am to 9:30pm; add weekend brunch 9am – 3pm but drop lunch on Sunday
• Price Range: Appetizers/Salads $8-10 • Entrees $14-16 • Specials $17-18
• Style of Food: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, contemporary fusion with an East Asian slant
• Most Popular Dishes: Gobi Manchurian, Pistachio and herb encrusted tofu with corn cakes.
• Most Popular Drinks: Vegetable and fruit juice combos like the Green Monster and the Works
• Good to Know: Everything can be made vegan
• What’s surprising about your restaurant? “This is not an Indian restaurant. I try to put everything inside our menu to make it universal, so everyone can come in and try whatever they want.”