2005 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, October 16, 2005
There are no surprises when your food shows up at the Vegetable Garden, because every dish gets a photograph in living color on the menu. Thus an order of "beef" with pecans looks exactly like it does in its picture (although those beef strips turn out to be soy protein in a sweet glaze). With its light pink walls and sea-green carpet, the small dining room is a modestly attractive place to refuel, and the servers are quick to bring you something refreshing from the juice bar and to deliver your food, which is made without meat, dairy, eggs or MSG. Among the draws are crisp and greaseless spring rolls, each bite bursting with cabbage, carrot and black mushrooms; gently tingling kung pao tofu, colorful with red and green sweet bell peppers; and soft chunks of eggplant in a delicate black bean sauce. The Vegetable Garden isn't as innovative as Sunflower, one of the area's best meatless retreats, and some of its flavors are too restrained -- tomato and spinach soup is thin, for instance, more spa-like than truly satisfying. But the welcome is warm, and the small bonuses (your water is filtered) add up.
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