Life Alive opened in Central Square last October serving exclusively vegetarian fare. Some people might call the interior hippy-crunchy and be inclined to mock it. In my opinion that would be unwarranted. The space is bright and cheerful and filled with plants and colorful decor. Behind the bright tiled counter, the staff are busy blending fresh juices and assembling plant-heavy plates. My friend Michelle was in town for a day last week and accompanied me on my first visit to Life Alive.
When I first peeked in, I thought it was a sit-down restaurant that also had a counter for to-go orders, but it turns out all orders are placed at the counter. If you are eating in, you take a seat at an available table and a server brings over your dish when it is ready. I ordered the Sufi Poet: red lentil hummus on top of a salad with cranberries, cashews, cucumber, granny apples, shredded carrots, greens and a balsamic vinaigrette. The red lentil hummus was the primary draw of this dish and luckily it delivered. I would hesitate to call it hummus though, as it was more of a hearty lentil mash than a spread. It was nutty and sweet and its smooth starchiness contrasted nicely with the crunchy raw vegetables and nuts. Many of the dishes are available in a full or demi-sized. The demi size is perfect for a smaller, lighter meal.
Michelle ordered the Fool: Udon Noodles in a sesame ginger marinade with shitake mushrooms, tofu, kale, onions, shredded carrots and sesame seeds.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience here and am quite happy with this new addition to Central Square. Boston is lacking in good vegetarian restaurants, ones that take care to assemble dishes that are creative, appealing, and based a variety of fresh produce. The staff were exceedingly friendly as well. I know many people will dismiss Life Alive for its hokey name or vibe, or simply because it is vegetarian. That would truly be a shame. I think anyone who has an appreciation for good food and good ingredients could have an enjoyable meal here. If you have never been to a vegetarian restaurant, Life Alive would definitely be a good first one to try.
765 Massachusetts Avenue