Yesterday, I lunch plans with my friends Sean and Emily. Sean and Emily used to live mere blocks from me but last summer they both moved to the midwest to pursue greater things, aka grad school. They came back to visit this week and since they were both recently locals, I needed somewhere new to take them. Luckily there are several new lunch spots that have opened since they moved away that I haven’t even been to yet, and so this was the perfect excuse to try one out.
Canteen opened back in May and is located on a nondescript corner on Mass Ave between Harvard and Central Squares. In the weeks before it opened, I read that it was going to be a sandwich shop that emphasizes sourcing ingredients locally and with lots of non-meat options. Hooray! The space is aesthetically pleasing and fun with lots of natural light and an open, airy layout. The counter has something of a deli feel to it, but with its own touches, like the multicolored glass tiles that adorn many of the surfaces.
Emily and I decided to split a sandwich and a salad. All sandwiches are served on Iggy’s bread. We got the Green Goddess sandwich with basil walnut pesto, fresh baby spinach & asparagus, zucchini & broccoli, avocado, goat cheese & fresh chopped herbs tossed in a creamy cilantro lime vinaigrette on toasted ciabatta. Tons of green vegetables on a sandwich? Yes please. This was quite the bundle of flavors and textures, with the creamy goat cheese and avocado, pungent basil pesto, and moist, tender veggies. If you’ve never had broccoli on a sandwich, you should try it. The chewy ciabatta held the ingredients nicely.
We also split the Spicy Thai Peanut Salad with organic field greens, roasted red peppers, carrots, cucumber, roasted almonds, red onions, scallions, and spicy Thai peanut sauce. I got it with a side of delicious toasted sourdough. The salad was generously portioned, with a heaping pile of greens and a sweet and spicy dressing. We originally were going to share two sandwiches, but a half sandwich and salad each was a much better decision. The sandwich was large and substantial and a whole one would have been too much for me. Salad on the side was a nice accompaniment. Emily also got a lemonade. Tart, sweet, and refreshing, just as it should be.
Sean ordered the BLT with fried egg. Exactly what it sounds like, bacon, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, some onion and fried egg and Iggy’s bread. Clearly, I did not sample this, but Sean loved it. Sean likes meat. He took a bite of the Green Goddess and handed it back saying, “I like mine better.”
There are so many more things at Canteen that I cannot wait to try. The other sandwich we were considering was the Joy Full, a sandwich with a white bean spread that they were out of yesterday, so I am guessing it is popular. Several people came and got their lunch to go. We paid for our meals at the counter then sat down at a table where our meals were brought to us. Canteen has seating for about 18 people. The staff were extremely gracious and accommodating throughout the entire meal. They also serve breakfast sandwiches, as well as soups and wraps, and they are open for dinner too. Check out Canteen’s full menu on their website and check them out on Twitter.
981 Mass Ave