Six of us gathered last Thursday night for a vegetarian chinese chowdown at Bok Choy Garden. Special thanks to tominsf for organizing and Melanie Wong for bringing the tasty wines.
atmosphere and service: calm, quiet, small, friendly, attentive
crispy taro rolls ($4.50) - highly recommended. Wrapped in soybean sheets and deep-fried, the taro rolls were crispy on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside. By adding a fancy presentation, these taro rolls were so good could be a dish out of the kitchen at Yank Sing.
deep fried crispy eggplant ($7.25) - highly recommended. Large thick slices of eggplant were battered, deep-fried, and served with a thick tangy red sauce. Crispy on the outside, silky on the inside. Good with or without the sauce.
seaweed and pine nut fried rice ($5.95) - loved it. The dish screams seaweed. I love seaweed, almost as much as bamboo, so naturally, I thought it was great. I've never seen this before at any other restaurant.
meatballs in black pepper sauce ($7.50) - good. The meatballs came in a peppery brown sauce containing jalapeno and red and green bell peppers. The meatballs were made of tofu, mushroom, and taro. The texture was similar to a loosely packed meatball while the flavor came closest to mimicking that of ground turkey. Definitely not beef-like, but pretty good anyway.
chef combination gluten ($5.95) - okay. The combination consisted of curry gluten, soy gluten, and sweet and sour gluten. The curry one was my favorite, but it was not actually gluten. It was soybean sheet rolls flavored with mushroom and a hint of curry. The soy and sweet and sour ones were pretty standard. I don't like gluten very much, so the "okay" reflects that.
stuffed shitake mushrooms with broccoli dish ($7.75) - good. The mushrooms were stuffed with tofu, topped with a brown sauce, and presented over plain broccoli. The mushrooms seemed fresh, not reconstituted from dried mushrooms. I really liked the mushrooms, but I didn't see the point of the tofu or the brocolli, except for maybe nutritional value.
MaPo tofu ($5.95) - okay. Substitutes dense firm pressed tofu for ground pork. My main complaint about this dish is its lack of heat.
sautéed green soybeans with tofu and seaweed ($5.95) - good. The large, fresh, whole soybeans were lightly cooked with a soy-based brown sauce. Soybeans were great, tofu was fine, seaweed (kelp-like) was soft and mushy.
vegetarian duck ($7.50) - bad. This was bland and oily and nothing like vegetarian duck at most chinese restaurants. These ones were deep friend and had no brown sauce.
brown rice ($0.75) - very good. I haven't eaten much brown rice at chinese restaurants, but I thought this one was very good. It had a good bite and good flavor. It was good just eating it by itself.
1999 Grans-Fassian Trittenheimer Altarchen Kabenett (Mosel)
1996 Lingenfelder Grosskarlbacher Osterberg Spatlese (Pfalz) - YUM is all I can say
Boy Choy Garden
1820 Clement Street, at 19tth Ave