Every day is meatless for Miss Yunks, so she’s never given much thought to the Meatless Monday trend that has recently erupted in the foodies’ world – and I don’t mean us foodies, I mean all of the foodies. Meatless Monday is a campaign supporting and encouraging people to eat meat-free meals one day a week. The Meatless Monday website says, “By cutting out meat once a week, we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change.” I wonder what real difference the Meatless Monday campaign is making and while I have strong feelings about being a vegetarian myself, I’ve never been one to preach to others about it. Even so, I support the cause and believe vegetarians are becoming more common. It’s common sense to me that restaurants should be accommodating to the vegetarian diet and offer protein filled delicious and nutritious menu items. However, this is not always the case. For all of these reasons, I was thrilled to hear that ArtBar in Cambridge has a new Meatless Monday menu. I eagerly accepted their invitation to sample the menu. ArtBar generously invited me and a guest to try their new menu items. I knew my friend B would appreciate a vegetarian meal almost as much as me, so B was my guest of honor.
ArtBar, located in the Royal Sonesta Hotel across the street from the CambridgeSide Galleria and right on the river, warmly welcomed us and sat us outside to enjoy the view. We started our meal leisurely with some cocktails.
I ordered the Flirtini and B chose the Sangritini. I like a little fizz in my drinks and the Flirtini combined Absolut, champagne, and pineapple juice perfectly. With our drinks, we shared some snacks. Instead of bread and butter, ArtBar serves bread and hummus. The hummus tasted freshly made and each variety of bread served as a tasty vessel for eating the hummus.
We shared each of the Meatless Monday special appetizers on the dinner menu.
I loved these Chipotle glazed Gardein tenders. They were crispy, spicy, and unlike any dish I’ve had at a restaurant. Gardein is a plant based protein containing essential amino acids. ArtBar uses Gardein in all of their Meatless Monday specials.
The other dinner special is Crispy Gardein Skewers with Mango Jicama Slaw & Spicy Pepper Aioli.
These Gardein skewers were more like a vegetarian chicken finger with crispy breading. I really liked the flavor and the texture. Tofu can sometimes be too silky or too firm; Gardein texture is more consistent and also works really well as a vegetarian option. I was comfortably full and my palate was happy with the flavors I’d eaten after these two dishes, but our entrees were still coming. While we waited, the ArtBar staff proved they did their homework. They read my About Me section and learned I used to like playing with playdough when I was little. ArtBar gives playdough to children instead of paper and crayons, and they gave me a little tub of playdough too. Naturally, I got to work. I made a playdough ice cream cone and a cupcake. B made a little man. He gobbled up the playdough cupcake.
We also had one more appetizer. More Gardein with a fancy side salad.
ArtBar takes the art part of their name very seriously. Each dish is presented like a work of art.
ArtBar has two vegetarian entrees on the regular menu and we shared both of them.
The risotto style fregola was my favorite dish. It tasted like ultimate comfort food. Soup is a common comfort food and I could taste the vegetable broth in this risotto. I loved the combination of flavors and the unique texture of the fregola (round pasta beads). I’d love to return to ArtBar for this dish.
For dessert, ArtBar proved once again they did their homework. It’s no secret to any of our blog readers that I love cupcakes.
A cupcake garden was presented in front of us. Cupcakes are not on the regular dessert menu, but the chef likes to make them for special events and for catered events. Because I love cupcakes, ArtBar made us six beautiful cupcakes.
The flower cupcakes tasted as good as they looked. The frosting was pure buttercream – no fondant details here. The red buttercream was strawberry flavored. I loved the chocolate cupcake best. Both the chocolate and vanilla cakes tasted freshly baked and had a nice crumb, but the chocolate flavor shined a little more than the vanilla.
ArtBar certainly spoiled us for Meatless Monday! I’m so glad they are accommodating to vegetarians and I’m grateful I was able to sample their vegetarian specials. If you are looking for a healthy vegetarian meal full of flavor, go to ArtBar for Meatless Monday.
What are your thoughts on Meatless Monday? Would you go to a restaurant for a Meatless Monday special?