I've been eating Chinese with vegetarians lately, and we've tried Kingdom of Vegetarians, Su Xing House, and Charles Plaza. We're also planning to go to New Harmony. (Too bad Cherry Street closed before we could try it.) I'm not a vegetarian, but I love fake meat...when it's cooked well. However, I've been extremely disappointed with center city choices.
Kingdom of Vegetarians
* fish-fragrance eggplant (I think they call it garlic sauce eggplant here): much too sweet, and had carrots - gross.
* beancurd rolls: gloppy sauce, unremarkable vegetable filling
* sesame chicken: way too sweet, I don't know what I was expecting but it tasted like American Chinese - fried "chicken" balls with sweet broccoli (ugh)
Su Xing House (the most expensive of the three)
* crispy soy bean protein steak: I specifically asked the waitress, "Is this sweet?" "No, not at all." WRONG! The "steak" was white and had the consistency of seafood more than steak. I thought the greens in the dish were incompatible with the soy.
* dry bean curd with spiral seaweed: The dry bean curd was cubed, not julienned (si) like I've usually had it. This dish was very disappointing; the bean curd and seaweed were thrown together in some sort of flavorless sauce. Some of the bean curd was scorched - evidence of careless cooking.
* beef with green pepper
* kung pao chicken
* seitan with squash in black bean sauce (really the squash was zucchini)
* some sort of ham with vegetables
* "szechuan" eggplant - SWEET not spicy! Not even a little spice!
These dishes all tasted the same, excepting the eggplant. The fake meat tasted like fake meat, not like the flavors of the dish (not that those were great either). Fake meat is supposed to be a flavor 'sponge', just like beancurd.
I know vegetarian Chinese can be so much better than what I've listed so far. Please help - I would appreciate specific dish recommendations. Center city is the most convenient location.