Teapot Vegetarian House
15230 NE 24th St #H
Redmond WA 98052
Vegans and Vegetarians Will Delight Over Teapot
By: Grant Chen
Rarely will you see the words "vegan" and "Chinese" appearing in the same sentence, but then again, Teapot isn't your typical run of the mill restaurant. Billing itself as a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, Teapot serves up a variety of unique Chinese and Asian dishes that you won't see elsewhere. Most interestingly, Teapot serves "meat" dishes that are actually made up of vegetables (yes, you heard us right). These are often known as imitation or fake meat products that you might have seen at alternative grocers such as Whole Foods or PCC.
Teapot Vegetarian House is located in a tiny strip mall, near NE 24th and 152nd Ave in Redmond, close to Big 5 and Office Depot. Almost overshadowed by the ever popular Malay Satay Hut located next door, Teapot could easily fade into the scenery as yet another typical Chinese restaurant if not for that small vegan sign that caught our eye.
Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a tranquil and open space, with bamboo planters spaced around the entryway and neat rows of tables and chairs. Tabletops were faux granite and the chairs were a light wood, while the rest of the restaurant also was composed of light colors along with various unique pieces of Asian artwork. The windows were large and southward facing, giving the restaurant a nice bath of warm sunlight that removed much of the need for artificial, harsh lighting.
The lunch menu had about a dozen or so items on it, each served with a soup combo. We correctly surmised that the dinner menu had a much better selection of dishes and opted to order off it. In fact, there was such a variety to choose from that we needed to call over our server who helpfully pointed out popular dishes and house specialties. After some thought, we ended up going with the Bounty of the Sea ($12.95), Beef Stroganoff ($11.95), Basil Nuggets ($11.95) and Mandarin Tofu ($9.95).
If you like teas, be sure to check out Teapot's tea menu, as they offers dozens of fresh teas from around the world. The different teas include various types of green, black, oolong, and jasmines - all of which come in cute, tea ensemble sets.
The Mandarin Fried Tofu was composed of a battered soy filler, which was stir fried and then served with spicy, tangy sauce. Though not trying to imitate any particular meat, the crispy tofu easily stood out on its own merits. The slightly vinegar-like flavors provided a wonderfully tangy flavor to the crispy, chewy tofu. The only complaint was that the portions were slightly on the small side.
The Basil Nuggets were made of mushroom stalk and served with onion, basil, and sweet dark sauce. This remarkably chewy, meat-like textured dish tasted sweet, "a bit like high quality beef teriyaki". We can't stress enough how close the texture was to real meat. The saccharine, slightly tangy sauce added an extra layer of flavor to the entire dish.
The Bounty of the Sea met with some contrasting reviews, with Bryan describing it his least favorite and Grant looking to order seconds. The dish was made with rolls of compressed tofu skin tightly wrapped with seaweed. Topped with parsley and on a bed of lettuce, this dish tasted surprisingly seafood-like without any use of seafood. The taste may be due to the black bean sauce layered over the dish.
Of all the dishes, the beef stroganoff was the clear consensus winner. The sauce was amazingly, remarkably creamy. There was clearly a mushroom flavor present, but many other wonderful flavors circulated throughout the dish that managed to escape identification. Much like the basil nuggets, the beef remarkably mimicked the texture of real beef with its stringy texture and composition.
At a unique vegan restaurant like Teapot, you would expect the pricing to be at a premium, but surprisingly, the meal was quite reasonably priced at about $10 per plate. Lunch combinations are around $7 to $8, so you certainly won't break the bank eating at Teapot.
Overall, we had a very good experience at Teapot and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique food experience. Vegetarians will be amazed by the how closely the dishes resemble real meat, while their carnivorous friends will simply be wowed by the great tasting meals. Big thumbs for Teapot Vegetarian House!
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