In the middle of Alston, Massachusetts' vegan row, sits Grasshopper restaurant, a fantastic vegan Chinese establishment. This place has delicious food and great deals and is a must for any visit to the Boston-area. I have written about this restaurant many times before, since it is one of my favorite places and one of the few completely vegan establishments in Boston. The Chinese food is way better than the typical fare and way less greasy (although oil is still a main ingredient in many of the items). Nevertheless, this place is great for new vegans, dining with picky omnivores, or days when you just crave comfort food.
We began the meal with one of my favorite items: Hot and Sour Soup ($4).
I cannot rave about this soup enough. This is seriously the most amazing hot and soup soup I've ever had and blows any non-vegan version away. The soup is perfectly tangy and has a wonderful bitterness that slightly burns the throat. The tofu is soft and luscious. The best part of the soup is the faux pork pieces, which are slightly chewy and very savory. They compliment the broth very well.
Next, we had the House Special Assorted Appetizers ($9).
This is a great choice when you are with a bunch of people with varying tastes. There is a mixture of "healthier" items, such as the vermicelli rolls and salad, and "junk" food items, such as the fried wontons and dumplings. The fried items are perfectly crispy and coated in a savory batter. The vermicelli rolls are a great contrast, as they are soft and mushy, with a lighter flavor.
Next, we had the Veggie Chicken Fingers ($5).
This was really good, but did not simulate chicken fingers that well. The outside was very spongy, while the interior was very soft and the tofu base was evident. I would have liked the flavor to have been more savory and meaty to be more reminiscent of the real thing.
Next, we had the No Name ($12.45).
This was essentially a Sweet and Sour "Chicken". This is one of my favorite entrees to order because the sauce is so scrumptious. The seitan pieces also had a wonderful texture and were very juicy. The stir-fried veggies were delectable and easy to chew. The sesame seeds coating the seitan really took the dish over the top, as it added a nice crunchiness.
Lastly, we had the House Special Nest ($13.45).
This dish was magnificent and I loved the presentation. The bird's nest was quite ironic, since the dish did not contain any actual bird. However, there were lovely pieces of seitan and soy to mimic chicken, fish, and beef, which all took on the seasonings and textures of these meats very well. I really enjoyed the crispy noodles from the nest, which was enhanced by the light, beany sauce.
Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. I appreciated all the different flavors from the dishes and liked the variety of textures in each dish. Best of all, I didn't feel as weighed down as I usually do after eating a greasy Chinese meal. We used a $25 restaurant.com gift certificate, which greatly reduced the cost of the meal. I will definitely return on my next trip to Boston.