The first thing I will say is that this restaurant is like an hour drive outside of DC with traffic on a Friday night. It is not in the heart of Silver Spring, but more like 25 minutes further past the heart into a suburban area that doesn't even resemble Silver Spring. But as soon as we saw their sign, we knew it was the old Vegetable Garden that we remembered.
Inside, it is a different configuration -- a bit smaller than the old location, but a very similar feel as I think they are using the same furniture and artwork as they had in the old location. It is a very casual feel. The menu still has pictures of every dish, which is helpful and some items appear to be new while some older items are missing, but, for the most part, the menu is the same as it was before.
After expressing some disappointment that their liquor license was still pending, I reluctantly ordered an organic carrot juice, which turned out to be delightful.
We started with a number of appetizers. The Spring Rolls were not that great as the cabbage was cold and I'm just not a big fan of deep-fried spring rolls in general.
The other spring rolls, which were more like summer rolls in rice paper were pretty good.
The Spaghetti Squash Patties were pretty plain.
The only appetizer I really enjoyed is my old-time favorite -- the Steamed Dumplings. These are always good and I love the sauce they are served with!
When we started ordering, we asked for everything to be super spicy and, boy, did our server take us seriously. He went into the back and came back with some extremely spicy pepper and oil mixes that they made fresh. He even stated that he had to steal some of them from the chef! They were super hot and a hit with our table.
My entree was one of my old favorites as well -- the Jian Pao Veggie Gourmet. This delicious vegetable-based dish was loaded with asparagus, tofu, lily bulb, sugar snap peas, oyster mushroom, yellow squash and red bell pepper in a spicy sauce. And when I say spicy, I mean spicy. I asked for super spicy and I think this is one of the spiciest dishes I've ever had. In fact, when the server dropped off our meals, he stated that no matter what, we must pay (because we asked for extra spicy)! That's when we knew we might be in trouble.
Chris ordered the General Tsao's Veggie Chicken. This is like one of their best sellers. Made with soy & wheat gluten, they have absolutely perfected this dish. Everyone at the table loved the crispy soy chicken and the broccoli was a nice way to temper the sweet flavor of the chicken.
Another friend got the Mushroom Forest, which was mushrooms galore! Filled with shiitake, oyster, portabello, crimini, enoki and white mushroom in a spicy sauce, it was very good, but a bit too many mushrooms and not enough of anything else for me. But, the guy who ordered it loved it.
My other friend ordered the 8-treasure eggplant. This dish had a great mix of diced eggplant, shiitake mushroom, yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, lily bulb, pine nuts, dried cranberries, cashew nuts and firm tofu in a spicy sauce. I loved this dish too!
For dessert, my friends ordered the chocolate orange pie while Chris and I ordered the sweet potato pie. Both were quite satisfying.
We are so happy you are back, Vegetable Garden! The food was great, the service was excellent and with $12 - $14 organic entrees, the price was right. Now, just get that liquor license and you'll be perfect. Oh, and open another restaurant in DC. We really would like you to be closer so we can go all the time! If you haven't been yet, I recommend it -- it's worth the drive.
February 3, 2012
3830 International Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20906