Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Vegetable Garden, Silver Spring, MD #2

Vegans rejoice -- Vegetable Garden is back! Oh, happy days call for the happy dance! Vegetable Garden is a 100% vegan Chinese restaurant that was open for about 18 years in Rockville, MD. They closed down in July of 2012 citing problems with their lease and rumor had it that they were not planning to reopen. Then, all of sudden, I get word that they are reopening in Silver Spring. Bam! So we got a group of people together and headed out to see the new space.

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.

Previous review
February 3, 2012

Vegetable Garden
3830 International Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20906
(301) 598-6868

Vegetable Garden on Urbanspoon


  1. I was visiting MD and always drive down Rockville Pike to see what has changed (a lot since I was last home 2012) and I drove by shopping center where VG used to be across from Whiteflint metro and was disappointed it was gone. I used to get food there before/after working at a nearby restaurant. Glad to know when I come back into town I can get my favorite orange chicken. My family also likes Yuan Fu Vegetarian in Rockville, been going since it opened. Thanks

  2. Thanks for the excellent review (and pics!), and for letting us know VG is back! Good to see the food is pretty much the same. From my downtown DC perspective, VG is locationally-challenged, but I'll give them a try if I'm up in that direction.

  3. Yuan Fu is also good, but I never thought it was as good as the Vegetable Garden.

  4. Thanks, Steven! It is definitely locationally challenged! I only wish they'd open one in DC!!