I was in San Francisco last weekend, and my boyfriend—knowing my love of good, greasy, American Chinese dishes— found for me a Chinese restaurant that serves vegetarian versions of classics like Lemon Chicken and Beef with Broccoli: Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant. It was wonderful. We had trouble narrowing down the menu of over 100 dishes—all vegetarian. The waitress was an adorable young lady and super helpful; she recommended some of her favorites.
Noor really wanted to try the Veggie BBQ Pork Appetizer. The thin strips of seitan in a sweet/hot sauce had a convincing texture.
The Sweet & Sour Chicken did not disappoint. Crispy deep-fried nuggets of faux meat in sweet red sauce with pineapple, peppers, and carrots. It was like a blast from my pre-veg past!
We also went with the Fresh Mushroom w/ Fried Soft Tofu & Vegetables. This dish had four different types of mushrooms: black, enoki, golden, and white! The other veggies (broccoli, snow peas, carrots, etc.) were fresh and crisp. The tofu was light, and the sauce was super savory. It had an umami factor that tasted just like chicken broth to me.
I was starting to get full, but the waitress did not ask us IF we wanted to order dessert. She asked, “Would you like to order dessert now or later?” When I explained that we didn’t need dessert, this sweet young lady gave me a death stare that would put any grandmother, teacher, or military drill instructor to shame. Then Noor chimed in, explaining that he is half Indonesian and had noticed that they had fried bananas on the dessert menu. And so it was decided. We ordered them with vegan vanilla ice cream (!), and they were glorious. This picture really does not do justice to these creamy, sweet delicacies wrapped in light, crispy batter (actually all of these pics were taken on my phone). I fully admit that I was wrong; the waitress and Noor were right. If you go to Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant, you MUST order dessert, no matter how full you are or how many chocolates you have back at your boyfriend’s apartment.
This place is not fancy, but it is damn good. The menu has enough variety and integrity to please just about anybody: from the most militant vegan to the most diehard omnivore. The fare is hearty, and the service is friendly, but it was the attention to detail that impressed us the most. For example, the hot tea is complimentary, and when we both ordered water they brought us a quart-sized bottle of cold, lemon-flavored water. The home-cooked food and homey atmosphere are a bargain; our meal came to less than $40 for an appetizer, 2 entrees, and a dessert. I’m so happy that I have all summer in San Francisco to try more of the wonderful dishes at Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant (and I promise to take some better photos next time 😉 )