I haven't seen it talked about here before, so I felt I had to pay some respect to Pine Forest Garden at 9108 Bellaire Blvd. in Houston.
I've been hitting up vegetarian restaurants all over the world, living in NYC for a couple years and now in Austin. In NYC, my fave is Buddha Bodai. Here in Austin, it's Mr. Natural.
But, I've also eaten at a lot of bad restaurants, and sadly, very very few amazing restaurants that I'd throw into my stash or 'regulars', places I hit up once a week.
But, every time I swing into Houston, I make it a point to go to Pine Forest Garden. This has to be, hands down, one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the whole world.
It's very Taiwanese in flavor, which borrows a lot from Northern Chinese cuisine. The chef is Cantonese but trained in Australia, and is really, too skilled of a chef to be cooking for such cheap prices. Try the Beef Noodle Soup, the Veggie Roasted Duck, or the weekday lunch buffet. Simply amazing real Chinese food, veggie style.
Seeing a gourmet Chinese vegetarian restaurant like this in Texas just brings me to tears, because food like this is so hard to find anywhere in the U.S.
I hope this place stays around for a while. I've been hitting it up for almost a year now. The only thing that stinks, and I hope they learn to change this one day, is that they close at 9PM.