Where to Whole Heart Provisions, an Allston spot serving vegetable-focused bowls and snacks. It is co-owned by Rebecca Arnold, the chef, and James DiSabatino of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (which has a brick-and-mortar shop next door).
What for Because you’re a vegan, vegetarian, gluten avoider, or carnivorous breadophile who enjoys eating healthy food designed by a chef who formerly worked at Sarma and Alden & Harlow.
The scene This used to be vegan cafe Root, and the space is recognizable — the same copper tables, rough-hewn wood planks, and banquettes, now painted gray. A big paper menu is posted on one wall; on another the words “. . . with your whole heart” appear, the restaurant’s orange carrot logo sprouting among them. Beverages in muted jewel tones bubble in the drink machines; Leela James and Mumford & Sons play loudly. Two women who just finished eating try to figure out what to toss, what to compost. A gent with curly hair and a gray shawl-neck cardigan watches something on his phone. A staffer tells a woman in cropped leggings and a black trench coat about the daily special, a turmeric-yellow shiitake congee with peanut crumble. At a counter, two business types meet over
What you’re eating Order one of seven combinations devised by the restaurant or build your own bowl. Start with a base of marinated kale, arugula, jasmine rice, or brown rice-quinoa pilaf, and go from there. The Mission bowl, for instance, is topped with shiitake mushrooms, edamame, shaved Brussels sprouts, Japanese eggplant, smashed cucumber, tahini sauce, and Sichuan dukkah crunch. The Seeta incorporates pickled cauliflower, chickpeas, cured tomato, savory green beans, currants, coconut curry, and crispy lentils. Add-ons range from avocado to roasted tofu to nutritional yeast. There are also snacks such as Mexican-style corn (pictured), sesame shishito peppers, and a falafel dog.
Care for a drink? Matcha lemonade, local cider, cold-pressed juice, and several flavors of kombucha on tap are available. If you’re feeling sleepy, horchata home brew combines the cinnamon-spiked, rice-based beverage with coffee. If you need something sweet, there is a kombucha float made with vegan ice cream from FoMu, located a few doors down.
Overheard Talk about social-media strategy, specialized diets, work, and the art of bowl construction. “She works from home, but I don’t think she does any work,” someone comments to a colleague, who laughs knowingly. “You wanna post that to Yelp!?” a man asks a friend, nodding toward his food. A woman tries to get online: “Oh, look, someone’s WiFi is called ‘Democrats Don’t Like to Read.’” “I’m addicted to these crispy lentils,” her dining companion enthuses. At the counter, a man grills the staff: “The entire menu is gluten-free except for the falafel dog? Are you also vegan? No fish products at all? Not even in your fish sauce?”
487 Cambridge St., Allston,