Toward the end of our day in Western Mass., the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council arranged for us to enjoy a dinner at Paul & Elizabeth's in Thornes Marketplace. The restaurant has been open for over 35 years, specializing in both seafood and vegetarian dishes.
The entrance to the restaurant is right outside Booklink Booksellers.
Just before the hostess stand was a list of the evening's specials, written in chalk.
We gave our name to the hostess and were whisked away to a quiet corner. Our table was right in the window, overlooking downtown Northampton.
I had peeked at the menu at work the day before, so I already knew the vegetarian offerings were plentiful. It was very cool to dine at a restaurant that really caters to vegetarians.
To begin, we shared the vegetable tempura. Each piece was suffiently battered and fried so it was fun to try and guess which mystery vegetable we were cutting in to. The veggies came with a side of sesame-ginger sauce that was nice and thick so that each time you dunked a piece of veggie, it became totally coated in the sauce.
Of all the different veggies in the tempura, the broccoli was far and away our favorite.
Continuing with the broccoli theme, we also ordered the broccoli saute which was broccoli cooked with minced garlic and ginger sauce. We opted to add tofu to the dish as well. The saute also comes with a side of brown rice.
I was really disappointed in this dish. It was very under seasoned. I wish that the garlic flavor had been stronger or there had been some element of heat. The tofu suffered the most, as tofu can only take on the flavor of the sauce it's cooked in and in this case, there wasn't much to soak up.
For our third dish, we shared the pan fried noodles with vegetables. It was a huge portion. Again, we felt the dish was very under seasoned. Both the broccoli saute and this noodle dish were pretty flavorless.
We wound quitting a few bites into each dish. After all the other amazingly yummy things we ate that day, it just didn't seem worth it. We did decide to wrap the leftovers and take them home. The next day I added crushed red pepper to the broccoli saute and soy sauce to the noodles and it made a world of difference!
I was so looking forward to the dinner at Paul & Elizabeth's because vegetarian-centric restaurants are hard to come by in Boston (I think I can name four off the top of my head). I think this was a case of not knowing what to order and kind of shooting in the dark. I'd love to go back with someone who really knows the menu and can point us toward the house specialties.
Tomorrow I will share my sixth and final post in this Western Mass. series. Dare I say, I've saved the best for last!
*This post is sponsored by the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council. All opinions are 100 percent my own.