A few months ago I learned about a new vegan restaurant called Pulse Cafe that opened in Somerville’s Davis Square, and have had it on my “must visit” restaurant list ever since. Reading a recent article on Hegans (he-vegans) in the Boston Globe reminded me about this restaurant so Funk and I headed there for a Saturday night date. The small restaurant was packed but we were seated quickly.
We started off with the Incan Salad which was loaded with quinoa, black beans, roasted corn (which didn’t seem roasted to me), and poblano chiles (don’t remember anything spicy) on a bed of romaine with an agave-lime dressing and a few tortilla chips. The ingredients in the salad were good, but the dressing was barely there. We were famished, so we scarfed it down.
I ordered the Barbecue Seitan which came with mashed potatoes and green beans, while Funk ordered the Chimichana. We were were surprised to see this was pretty much a burrito filled with ground seitan, refried beans, shredded cashew jack, brown rice, peppers and onions, served with sour cream (vegan) and kale. Funk and I typically order two dishes we both want, eat half, and then swap plates.
The seitan was delicious and made right in the restaurant. I loved the tangy, zesty BBQ sauce and felt like I was having a typical meat n’ potatoes meal. I don’t typically gravitate towards mashed potatoes, but these were good. The green beans were…plain. Don’t get me wrong, I eat my veggies plain all the time, but when I go to a restaurant I expect a little more than veggies that were merely steamed. I also think if you’re going to try to entice people to eat meat-free meals, you have to make the vegetables – the “meat” of the meal – delicious!
Funk’s chimichana was good. I didn’t care for the sour cream but he did. And I was so excited for the sautéed kale, which once again, was plain. It was tough even for me to enjoy naked kale.
We started to notice people coming in to eat and then promptly leaving. After this happened a few times, we heard it was because the restaurant ran out of food. At 8:45pm! Kudos to them for having such a large crowd, but ouch. Bad business. When we asked for the dessert menu, we learned the were out of the sweet stuff too. Bummer!
I don’t typically give negative food reviews on this blog. I guess I had very high expectations for this restaurant and was so excited for the new vegan hot spot on the block. I think it has a lot of potential in Davis Square, which is swarming with Tufts students and unique restaurants. I do plan on returning, especially when Pulse Cafe opens its doors for Sunday Brunch, but I do hope they jazz up their veggies a bit and make sure they are prepared for a crowd before then!
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