Belly of the Beast

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 1 review )
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413-727-3040
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159 Main St, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, 01060

Serves meat, vegan options available. Brightly-lit eatery where the menu labels vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy free, pescatarian, and nightshade-free. Vegan include shan (chickpea) tofu sandwich, sweet porridge, savory porridge, soba noodles, fennel radish salad, sautéed greens, garlicky grains, smashed potatoes, and sides. Other items, like the tartine, can be made vegan per request. Open Mon 8:00am-8:00pm, Wed-Thu 8:00am-8:00pm, Fri-Sat 8:00am-9:00pm, Sun 8:00am-8:00pm.

Categories: Lacto, Ovo, American, Non-veg

1 Review

First Review by nafanc

Veggie friendly, great potential - try for yourself! - Edit

I've walked past this place a few times and always been intrigued by the attractive interior. I finally stopped in this weekend to try their fare.

The woman working the counter (owner, perhaps?) was super nice. You could tell that she was enthusiastic about the food and the restaurant overall. I ordered the Shan tofu sandwich, while my partner got the egg salad. We also got the fried smashed potatoes to share and a couple of beers.

The drink selection is awesome. It's not extensive, but it's well-curated, so the few options they have are all really great. The beers we got were really tasty. The smashed potatoes were also amazing - delightfully crispy.

My partner really enjoyed the egg salad sandwich, but I was a bit less impressed with my tofu sandwich, unfortunately. If you haven't had Shan tofu before, it is a tofu that is made with chickpeas instead of soybeans, and it has a much smoother texture and less beany flavor. I love chickpea tofu in Asian cooking like curries, but I don't think it worked well in the sandwich. It was a bit too smooth and gooey, and it didn't have much flavor on its own, so it didn't stand up well as the centerpiece of the sandwich. It did have a really nice, crispy exterior, but unfortunately that also meant that it was quite oily from frying. That said, the rest of the sandwich ingredients were quite nice.

We also got a dessert to share: the coconut lime pudding. It was absolutely heavenly. The lime flavor was so bright and fresh and zesty, and it worked really well with the coconut base. My only objection was that there wasn't enough of it! It comes in a little miniature pie pan, perhaps the size of a cupcake wrapper, or maybe even smaller than that. We devoured it quickly because it was so delicious, but we weren't keen on shelling out another 4-5 bucks for seconds.

After dessert, I realized that small serving sizes were a theme - the beers were also small (8 oz. pours), yet priced like 12 or 16 oz. pours might be at other places. I feel a bit ambivalent about this. After all, neither of us was hungry after the meal, and in fact, we were quite comfortable and content. So perhaps the serving sizes are just right. At the same time, it felt like we weren't getting good value, since the pricing on many items was similar to other places we've eaten, yet much smaller in size. Still not sure how to feel about this, but I think maybe I'll have a better experience next time since I'll have more reasonable expectations.

Overall, some pros and some cons. I'd say I enjoyed my visit to Belly of the Beast. Although I wasn't blown away this time, I definitely think there's a lot of potential. We had some great bites in our dinner, and I'd be eager to give them another try.

Pros: Veggie options, well-labeled, Friendly, inviting

Cons: Small (but satisfying) portions

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