Wagamama is a British noodle chain that has become ubiquitous across Europe. They recently opened branches in Boston, and are planning one in DC. When we spent a year in London during college, most of our university's get-togethers were at the original Bloomsbury location. The vibe is minimalist and efficient: stark white walls and rows of long wooden tables, with hipster waitstaff taking orders on wireless PDAs, scribbling item numbers on diners' paper menus.
Wagamama wasn't the most authentic noodle house in the city, but the atmosphere was fun and everyone could find something they liked for less than $10. That's true for American wagamama, too; if you want Japanese noodles made by Japanese people, walk a few blocks down Mass Ave. to the Porter Square mall. We go to wagamama for sentimental reasons, but also to order a few favorites from their vegetarian-friendly menu. The website has a dietary requirements section that lists dishes suitable for vegans and people with allergies, and the servers are always happy to check with the kitchen when I have ingredient questions. Drinks include raw juices and a yummy unsweetened ginger peach iced tea. And for dessert, there's vegan raspberry sorbet.
Here are our usuals, with descriptions from the menu:
freshly steamed green soya-beans, the perfect complement to drinks. hold up to your mouth and squeeze the succulent beans from the pod. choose sprinkled with either salt or chili garlic salt.
Edamame is nearly perfect, so it's best not to fiddle with it much. I like the coarse chili garlic salt, which isn't very spicy, but perfectly highlights the beans' buttery flavor and texture. Simple as it is, I look forward to steamed edamame more than anything else on the menu.
stir-fried zucchini, portabella, shitake and button mushrooms, green and red peppers, baby squash, snow peas and fried tofu. served with whole wheat noodles in a chili sauce made from chilies, ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass, sweet red pepper and tomato.
This is my usual. Lots of colorful, crunchy vegetables in tangy sauce. It's not spicy, so I usually drizzle it with chili oil.
deep-fried slices of sweet potato, eggplant and butternut squash coated in panko breadcrumbs, served with a light curry sauce and japanese style rice, garnished with a combination of mixed leaves and red pickles.
This is comfort food. Fried breadcrumbs and white rice, with a mild, creamy, mysteriously vegan curry sauce. We call it the wagamama Thanksgiving.
Wagamama gets a three on the chickpea scale. Vegans have several interesting meals to choose from.