|Sweet Lemon Vegetarian Bistro, Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 4888 NW Bethany Blvd., K6
Portland, OR 97229
|Times Visited: 2|
You may be familiar with Sweet Lemon by their wraps at Food Fight, or their appearance at VegFest. If you were not aware of their west-side restaurant, go there now! And if you knew about their restaurant but never went, shame on you, and go there now!
There’s a common saying on the wall of the café, “Enter as guests, leave as friends,” This is not just a cute saying, the owners are friendly, want to know about you, and want to share themselves. They understand most Portland area vegans live in Portland proper and travel a good distance to visit their Bistro, so their food must be that much better to make the drive or bus trip to Bethany Village.
Sweet Lemon Vegetarian Bistro is located in a strip mall, which is an unassuming place for a vegan restaurant. The small café is brightly painted and several small tables are scattered through-out. The small two-person tables makes gathering in large groups or ordering a large amount of food difficult.
The all vegan, pan-Asian menu will suit any party – faux meat, tofu, appetizers, soups, wraps, salads, noodle or rice bowls, and sweets. While I have not tried the wraps or cakes, everything else has been not only delicious, but reasonably priced. A dinner for two ran $21 for tea, appetizers, and two entrees.
Most faux meat products are served with a heavy lemongrass dressing. In fact, the flavor is so strong that there’s not much difference between the Heavenly Kabob or the Dancing Drum Stick faux meat appetizers. The pan-fried kabob soy protein chunks are served on a skewer and basted with a strong ginger and lemongrass sauce on top lettuce and accompanying ginger shredded carrots. The soy shaped drum sticks have a lemongrass stick inside them and a crispy exterior with the same sauce. If you’re not a fan of lemongrass I suggest avoiding these plates.
As a big fan of Mo Shoo, I ordered Mama’s Mo Shoo as a main dish, instead of an appetizer. This dish is definitely different from the traditional dish. It is wrapped in rice paper, like a summer roll and served with peanut sauce. The vegetables were all finely cooked, without the runny sauce, which often accompanies this dish. While I enjoyed the wrap it wasn’t the typical Mo Shoo I had expected since I was looking forward to the tangy plum sauce. However, the pancake held together while dipping into the sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
The Pad Thai tastes like the more common sweet and tangy rice noodle version with various vegetables and sliced and fried tofu. The sweet and spicy curry was more than enough for one person and served with cute brown rice logs. The rice logs were nothing special, just a different way to present and garnish the dish. These little details to the dishes really make Sweet Lemon stand out.
The Noble Noodles was one of my favorite entrees sampled. The meal is much more like a traditional Vietnamese bun served with lemonglass glazed soy chicken, lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, and peanuts, all over rice noodles with a light ginger dressing on the side. While the meal appeared simple in terms of ingredients, the combination of the lemon ginger soy chicken and the ginger dressing, the flavors carried through. Thankfully, these are only a few of the many dishes available at Sweet Lemon, because it gives me a good reason to go back and try more dishes, like the house baked cakes!
The vegans of Bethany must be very excited to have this all vegan restaurant in their backyard. Sweet Lemon is one of many vegetarian restaurants in Portland that spread the message of the Supreme Master. Whatever your reason for visiting, location, the message, or the all vegan kitchen, you will be happy to enjoy fresh food made with delicious sauces, and served with love.