Monday, September 26, 2011

A Great Dinner At Grasshopper

No trip is complete to Boston without dining at one of my favorite vegan chinese restaurants, Grasshopper in Allston, MA. This restaurant has so many great memories for me, since it was one of the few restaurants around when I went vegetarian at the tender age of thirteen. I love that it still thrives and the food is just as good as the first time I visited. This restaurant is not only comfort food for me, but a constant reminder of the struggle I faced becoming a vegetarian. Grasshopper was pivotal in helping me realize that vegan food can taste delicious and there are adequate meat substitutes. On my previous visit to Grasshopper, I indulged in a lovely array of traditional chinese delicacies. This current visit was equally amazing and the food was very flavorful.

First, we all had bowls of hot and sour soup ($4).

Grasshopper's hot and sour soup was fantastic. It was very tangy and was quite spicy with just a hint of sweetness. The vegetable pieces were so soft and delicate and the tofu chunks had a very savory flavor.

Next, we had the House Special Assorted Appetizers ($9).

I am a huge fan of sampler plates because I can never make up my mind about what to order and I love being able to try everything. This appetizer sampler was perfect because it featured a wonderful variety of textures and flavors. The vermicelli rolls were very soft and gooey with a slight licorice taste. The fried wontons, spring rolls and dumplings, on the other hand, were very crisp and crunchy, with a more meaty flavor. The fried bean cakes were the perfect in between, having a lovely balance of slightly sweet and savory and having a softer, more luscious interior. The salad was terrific, coated in a creamy dressing, yet it tasted very light and refreshing.

Next, we had the Sweet and Sour Tofu, Chicken Fingers with Pineapple, Celery and Onions ($8.50).

This dish is one of my favorites as it combines fried soy chicken with soft, well-cooked vegetables covered in an elegant sweet and sour sauce. The chicken fingers are the best part, as they are so perfectly deep fried. The coating is crispy and the tofu interior is soft and easy to chew. The sauce is so tangy and succulent and the vegetables and soy chicken sop it up very well.

Next, we had the House Special Nest Crispy Taro Nest with Assorted Vegetables, Veggie-Chicken, Beef and Seafood ($13.45).

This dish was so innovative and different from the entrees I typically order at Grasshopper. The "nest" was composed of crunchy, fried noodles and the interior consisted of a wonderful mixture of well-seasoned sauteed vegetables and savory pieces of soy chicken, beef and seafood. The soy meats were so real tasting and the seafood added a slightly fishy flavor that was a little off-putting. Nevertheless, the sauce was very scrumptious and had a beany taste with notes of soy sauce.

To satisfy our sweet tooth, we indulged in a piece of vegan cheesecake with blueberry sauce ($3.50).

This cheesecake was so decadent and had a sweet flavor and was very creamy. It had a slight saltiness that perfectly resembled cream cheese. The blueberry compote added an even sweeter taste and was so heavenly.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. I truly treasure Grasshopper and it's definitely a nostalgic experience for me. I am so happy that they've survived so long, especially in an area that has never been very vegan friendly. With our $25 gift certificate, the meal only cost $35 (for three people). The portions at Grasshopper are huge and we had enough leftovers for another meal. I love that the food at Grasshopper tastes very authentic and the soy meats mimic the real deal so well. This is a great place to bring an omnivore, especially one that loves a good deal. I cannot wait to return on my next visit to Boston.

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