By Lisa Green
Vegetarian and vegan visitors to the Berkshires should have no hesitations about finding dining choices in keeping with their food philosophies. The Berkshires’ emphasis on farm-to-table dining leads to menus that celebrate healthy, often organic, vegetable-based fare.
Whether you’re looking for a quick veggie burger and fries or an elegant gourmet dinner, vegetarian (and in many cases, vegan) selections abound. To begin with, many of the Berkshires’ ethnic restaurants feature meatless items. Alapamayo Restaurant offers a choice of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free Peruvian dishes seasoned with those inimitable Peruvian spices. For Mexican cuisine, head for Coyote Flaco, which has a vegetarian taco salad and several soups vegetarians will appreciate.
You can usually count on a Chinese restaurant to serve a variety of vegetable options, and Chopsticks doesn’t disappoint. Flavours of Malaysia’s menu features a large veggie section that includes fried turnip cake with a vegetable glaze, a pan-roasted veggie burger and crisp fried tofu with sweet chili sauce. No MSG is used, and all dishes can be cooked gluten free. Indian food lovers can choose from an extensive menu of both vegan and vegetarian specialties at Bombay. If you are in Great Barrington then be sure to make a reservation at Bizen, offering a broad variety of Japanese vegetarian cuisine If you’re with a group that’s craving ribs, Mad Jack’s BBQ will satisfy everyone. The authentic southern-style BBQ’s menu declares “Don’t eat meat? No problem.” Barbecued tofu plate, vegetarian chili and a strawberry salad are a few of the items offered. Olympic Family Pizza offers veggie Greek specialties such as eggplant gyro and spinach or cheese pie.
Prefer more eclectic (or “American”) fare? The Starving Artists Café and Creperie is appreciated for its local organic options. Try the “Twisted BLT,” filled with vegetarian Canadian bacon, fresh mozzarella, spinach, tomatoes and scallions with horseradish sauce. Sullivan Station offers a pasta primavera with tofu, and polenta lasagna. Or if it’s modern Mexican you crave then be sure to stop by Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant.
Elegant and veggie focused, Stagecoach Tavern creates specials around each week’s local produce bounty. Firefly New American Bistro has a daily vegetarian soup and a pan-roasted veggie burger, while PUBLIC Eat + Drink’s ribollita, a traditional Tuscan stew, is just one of the many items on the menu highlighted for vegetarians. At the Red Lion Inn, Chef Brian Alberg always includes one or two vegetarian dishes, and his renowned “Chef’s Flight” of vegetables, while not on the menu, is still available upon request.
Vegetarian or vegan? The Berkshires has plenty to offer when it comes time to eat your veggies! For a comprehensive list of restaurants offering vegetarian cuisine, click here.
Lisa Green is a freelance writer and advertising director of www.ruralintelligence.com