This restaurant has closed.
|Vegetarian Bistro Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 668 S King St. Seattle, WA 98104|
|Hours: M,W, Thurs & Sun – 11am-9:30pm
Fri & Sat – 11am-11pm
|Times Visited: 1|
The Stumptown Vegans Travel!
Vegetarian House in Portland’s itty bitty Chinatown can be decent enough, but it pales in comparison to the vegan Chinese food the Stumptown Vegans have eaten in Seattle at the lovely Teapot and even Bamboo Garden. When traveling to Seattle, this Stumptown Vegans puts Chinese food high on her priority list. My recent visit found me stopping at Vegetarian Bistro in Seattle’s International District. The other Stumptown Vegan had raved about a previous meal there, so how could I pass it up? Well, the alarm bell rang when I walked in and it was empty for a weekday lunch at noon, and only one other table arrived during my lunch with a friend. Despite the emptiness, what followed was a standard though enjoyable lunch experience.
If you’ve been to Vegetarian House, imagine the food being one step up in quality, minus the Supreme Master brainwashing. For starters, this reviewer had read on Yelp about dim sum offerings. The menu had eight or so offerings, only a smidgen of what I was hoping for. The dim sum menu was literally an appetizer list of a handful of steamed or fried veggie dumplings, spring rolls, a couple buns, and bean curd rolls.
The three bean curd rolls ($3.50) were a pan-fried, gelatinous and thin fold filled with cabbage, mushrooms and greens. They were not traditionally appealing in looks and clearly in my description, but proved to the be tastier and fresher of the two dim sums my table ordered. The actual bean curd was the skin of the roll, enveloping the filling ingredients.
The second dim sum we ordered was the fried veggie dumplings ($3.50). These were an oily, deep fried departure that led the way for the remainder of the really fried meal. Basically, the restaurant took three dumplings that you can find sold frozen in packs of 12 for $2 in an Asian market, turned to the deep fryer, and charged $3.50. You bite into one, realize it was a huge mistake to do so quickly and to order something so utterly fried, and reach for your water. Swallow, give yourself a few minutes, and proceed to eat a bombastically deep fried dumpling that you’ll later regret, but will enjoy for the time being. They’re still tempting dumplings, but next time I’ll opt for steamed, thinking about all the oil involved.
It was a surprise to not see a Lunch Specials menu, so my dining companion and I choose two ‘chicken’ entrees for our main courses: the General Tso’s and the Orange Chicken ($9.95 each). Both dishes featured batter fried 3-4 inch round nuggets of tender soy chicken covered in sauce. We knew what were getting into – another battered entree – and looked forward to it. Standard sides of white or brown rice were complimentary with non-noodle dishes, we chose brown. For an entree, the portion size was smaller than expected, but adequate. Both sauces were again, standard. The Orange was a sweet and obviously citrus based sauce, and the General Tso’s was a more compelling, though expected, spicy meets sweet combination. General Tso’s is a meal that I always want to order off of regular Chinese restaurant menus with tofu, but I’m terrified of the guarantee of it being actually vegan and have a hard time resisting at vegan Chinese establishments. The Orange entree was served with pineapple and a few chopped bell peppers while the General’s came with a small side of nearly warm steamed broccoli. The General Tso’s was the best variation of that dish I’d had since at New Harmony in Philadelphia a couple years ago.
Across the board, the physical dishes, presentations and service were all cordial. Frustration stuck when stepping out of the restaurant after dining. Posted on the window was the lunch specials menu – to think we could have ordered enough for one, with soup, for cheaper! Why was this menu not on the table, or taken off the window if it’s no longer offered? My seeking of deals at lunchtime made this even more tragic than the lack of dim sum. The meal itself wasn’t one that I’d plan into my next trip up north, but a destination I’d keep in mind. Vegetarian Bistro served us a meal that tiptoed above it’s counterparts in Portland, and is worth checking out one day to explore their additional menu options, and a dose of comforting General Tso’s.