1) WATERTOWN — Red Lentil Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurant unveiled interior renovations and a new menu on Thursday, after being closed for more than a month. The spruce-up includes new flooring, lighting fixtures, and furniture. Chef Pankaj Pradhan teased glimpses of new menu items while the restaurant was closed, so expect to see crispy polenta bites with cipollini onions, organic baby spinach, and a maple-balsamic reduction; vegan linguini with French lentils, summer squash, and spicy marinara sauce; and gluten-free, vegan "calamari," made with oyster mushrooms. Pradhan has a second vegan concept in the works, a breakfast-and-lunch spot in the former Grappa space in Watertown. He plans to go before the licensing board this month. Status: Certified re-open. 600 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown. (617) 972-9188.
2) NEEDHAM — Another suburban restaurant was reborn this week: Blue on Highland reopened on Monday. The restaurant had been closed since July 4, and the renovation project included exposing a brick wall, adding hickory paneling, and updated booths and furniture. Status: Certified re-open. 882 Highland Ave., Needham. (781) 444-7001
2) CHINATOWN — A new restaurant with Taiwanese, Sichuan, and Shanghai dishes has opened in Chinatown. 5 Spices House takes over the Vinh Sun space on Beach Street, a Chowhound user reported. A Yelper says the space is similar but tidied up with more seating added. There's hot pot, lion's head meatballs, and chive pie that is "crispy and delicious." The $23 lunch special, with three dishes, soup, and rice, comes recommended by another early reviewer. 5 Spices House doesn't appear to be connected to Five Spices China Bistro in Quincy, which shuttered in 2010. Status: Certified open. 58 Beach St., Boston. (617) 574-8888.