Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vegetarian's Paradise

Vegetarian's Paradise 2 - 144 W. 4th (Between 6th and Macdougal) (Close to the W. 4th Subway Stop)
Buddhist Chinese can be hard to get right... Many restaurants try, offering up mock-meat versions of General Tsos, Kung Pao Chicken...and many more classics. This visit was my fourth attempt. Three other times, I had ventured to vegetarian establishments, seeking the perfect Seitan, Tofu and Tempeh dishes. First House of Vegetarian, and Vegetarian Dim Sum...and then Buddha Bodai, but to no avail - the dishes all proved disappointing. Pretty perhaps (at least in the case of Buddha Bodai) - but not as satisfying as the real thing.

The fourth trip was to Vegetarian Paradise 2 - a small, stylish restaurant located in the heart of the West Village. This time - the food was just right!

A vegetarian treasure-trove, the menu at VP2 offers a wealth of options, pulling from various asian cuisines. Dishes tempted around every corner, including Meatless Siu Mai, Rice Ball Dumplings, Grilled Mahi-Mahi, Mango Chicken and even Vegan Ice Cream. But the goal of the evening was Peking Duck - served on crepes with shredded scallions, pineapples, lychee and hoisin sauce. Within ten minutes, the food was there...and it was good: light tan and dimpled like true duck skin - with just the right, chewy texture. Accented with the crisp vegetables, and the slightest sweet touch of the fresh lychee, this was one dish that really worked, wiping away all memory of the soggy General Tso that I had dined on earlier in the week (ordered from Budda Bodai.) Even the hoisin sauce tasted good. My only complaint - the crepes, substituting in for the floppy, soft wafers that had accompanied the real Peking Duck that I had tried in the past. But the crepes were tasty on their own - so it was a sin that could be forgiven. I even willingly begrudged the $10.95 price tag - despite the inherent thriftiness of my soul. Surprisingly, the best was yet to come - because VP2 serves banana splits - three generous scoops of vegan ice cream drizzled with chocolate and sprinkles. Now that, my friends, was a truly happy ending.

Finally, a vegetarian restaurant that I enjoy - and can truly recommend. Tonight, I walked through the West Village a happy Gaijin....thanks to Vegetarian's Paradise 2...and a little dish called Peking Duck.

No comments:

Post a Comment