Meatless Mondays: Bamboo Garden

An Asian feast with bountiful menu options in lower Queen Anne.

As a vegan, I’ve come to realize my cravings for Chinese food should be ignored, but because of my recent obsession with all things “Kung Fu Panda,” I couldn’t take it. The answer was Bamboo Garden in Queen Anne.

The long list of menu items is daunting at first, but it’s nice to have options aplenty. The Crispy Fried Taro Root Patties ($4.95) arrived minutes after ordering—these guys are fast! Their speed was about the only thing that impressed me. The texture was like a lightly fried potato cake, but there was no flavor and the neon orange sweet and sour sauce almost blinded me. Next time, I’ll try the Crispy Fried Soft Bean Curds. Crispy and soft? Bamboo Garden must have wizards back there.

Our waiter suggested the Ginger Beef ($9.95) and after “Sounds good! We’ll have tha—“ I swear, the food was already on the table. I should’ve asked his recommendation for appetizers because he was money on this dish. Flavorful and tender faux beef strips, hunka-hunka-burnin ginger and sautéed snow peas made up this well-balanced entrée. The sneaky ginger chunks might try to trick you into thinking they’re wide rice noodles, but beware. Biting into one of those makes you want to involuntarily judo chop your dining partner.

I found inner peace with the Sesame Chicken ($11.95) in its Buddha Basket, which looked more like a bird’s nest. The pieces of soy chicken were doughy and fried, with a sticky light glaze—a nice change from the usual drenched pieces of meat in a sweet and sour dish. And nestled beneath the sticky balls? Surprise! Fresh pineapple and steamed veggies. The Buddha Basket of fried shoestring potatoes should have angled eyebrows, the kind you can’t trust. He’s shifty, that one. Just like most of their 80’s-like presentations, this basket is just for show. Fried potatoes are usually number one in my book, so naturally I tried it. Just a warning: Don’t.

After you’re done and you’re ready to start walking to their parking lot (a mega plus!), you’ll receive a fortune cookie and a monotonous “Goodnightthankyoubye” from the staff. A beer or cocktail might assist in a more memorable meal; they have those too. All I could think about during the meal was getting home to watch “Kung Fu Panda.” If the ¾ full of gravy could speak, it would say “Meh.”

Bamboo Garden |  364 Roy St.,  Seattle  |  (206) 282-6616