Friday, June 08, 2007

Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant




As you might have gathered from my last few posts, Daiku and I are currently traveling. Right now, we are at my mom's house in northern Virginia. The past week was hectic for us, trying to pack up and close up the house for 3 weeks, preparing our travel-hating cats for a road-trip, and also throwing a party and trying to finish up all the food in our house. Now that everything is settled, I had time to blog, which explains the 6 (count 'em, SIX!) posts that have appeared mysteriously just today.

So while we have been here in Virginia, we finally got a chance to try Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant, about which I had heard great things! My mom also wanted to try this place and had been waiting until Daiku and I were in town, so one afternoon, we headed over. I have to admit, I was a little afraid of how my mom would react to such "hard-core" vegan foods, but I am happy to report that we all loved the food! (I don't know why I'm so neurotic, but I feel like all vegan foods have to "represent" and be really good, or someone will go away with a bad impression of veganism and never want to try anything again!)



The menu is pretty huge- and I had lots of options- macrobiotic? Raw? Sushi? Rice? Noodles? Pasta with tomato sauce? They had it all. In the end, I decided to go with a "normal" choice (again, with attention to what my mom might like) and ordered the grilled chicken sandwich which came with lettuce, jicama, tomato, a savory red tomato and vegetable sauce, and a small mixed green salad on the side. This turned out to be a yummy choice.



I also love this appetizer, teriyake eel, as did everyone else. As you might know, I am endlessly fascinated with faux meats- how certain chefs and restaurants excel at recreating the taste and texture of flesh, in cruelty-free form. These eel didn't exactly taste like the eel I used to order in Japanese restaurants, but they were very fish-like, with the help of seaweed. The flaky meaty texture fascinated my mom, who is a big fan of fish. Small steps...



For his entree, Daiku ordered the Thai Tom Yam (spicy & sour) & basil fried rice. This huge dish came loaded with veggies such as edamame and carrots, and little cubes of soy protein. The sour flavor was unique and almost startling. My mom and Daiku liked this dish more than I did, but even I had to admit that the flavor was new to me.



My brave mother ordered the "Adventures in Tempeh Land" even though she had never tried tempeh before. Sunflower's organic multi-grain tempeh, however, was nothing to fear and we all loved the tempeh and veggies in the thick curry sauce, that came with a side of brown rice.

Even though we were stuffed, we all decided to share a dessert, a chance to try vegan desserts should never be passed up!



We settled on the lemon tofu cheese pie. Once again, I was a little nervous- a vegan cheesecake can either be watery, gray and flaovrless, or it can be marvelous. Fortunately, this happened to be marvelous. Instead of trying to imitate a cheesecake, they had instead made this intriguing concoction using tahini, cashews, and pine nuts, served over a lemon sauce. It was not too sweet, but had a winning flavor.

The service at Sunflower was a bit wonky- my sandwich was brought out way before the appetizer or any of the other entrees, and we had to ask for knives and spoons (it's difficult to eat a liquid curry with a fork!) but the crowd-pleasing food and friendly staff made up for this.

I really appreciate my mom for taking us to dinner and being so open-minded (open-palated?)
and I really appreciate Sunflower Restaurant for giving such a great impression of vegan food!

Restaurant Info: (2 locations)

2531 Chain Bridge Road
Vienna, VA 22181
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday
12:00 noon - 10:00 pm
TEL: (703) 319-3888
FAX: (703) 242-7331

6304 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday
12:00 noon - 10:00 pm
TEL: (703) 237-3888
FAX: (703) 237-3887




Share/Save/Bookmark

23 comments:

Neva Vegan said...

They do have wonderful food, but they're so far from us (well, not as far as for you) so I never get over there!

Judy said...

Holy Cow - er, tofu! That's a lot of cooking and eating and great looking food. Why don't I ever go to parties with food like that?

SusanV said...

OMG, you've eaten an eel? Just kidding--well, sort of. I guess I became vegan before such animals were common on menus here in the US.

Anyway, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I hope you're having a great trip! The restaurant looks good, and I'm now going to read the 5 posts that came before this. If you have plans to come anywhere near the Deep South, I'd love to meet up with you. And I wouldn't even make comments about eel eating or anything! :-)

urban vegan said...

My brother-in-law lives in Reston. Time for a field trip! The food looks insanely delicious. And I like your philosophy about never passing up a vegan dessert--except that I make so many that it's time for me to start passing some up.

KleoPatra said...

Bazu, i adore the cute sunflower doll at the end of your post!!!

Thanks for a stellar review of what seems like a fab restaurant. Great that you all got to enjoy!!

Bazu, wow... when you wrote this...

"I have to admit, I was a little afraid of how my mom would react to such "hard-core" vegan foods, but I am happy to report that we all loved the food! (I don't know why I'm so neurotic, but I feel like all vegan foods have to "represent" and be really good, or someone will go away with a bad impression of veganism and never want to try anything again!)"

i have to tell you how i nodded in agreement BIG TIME as you're 100 percent accurately depicting what i often "go through" w/family and friends - ever hopeful for happy endings! i'm sure we are not alone with this kind of trepidation and concern. Also, WE want to be satisfied with the experience as well, like you wrote about vegan desserts... often hit-or-miss, i know it!

Hope you are having safe travels. i am missing you!

Nikk said...

the food looks delicious! if i'm ever in that area, i've got to get there for that tempeh dish!

aTxVegn said...

What a great restaurant! And I love the mascot hanging in the window. All the food looks great, and I'm curious about the "mystery" sour flavor.

Celine said...

I love your entries so much, Bazu!!
that last pic is cracking me up. and my sweet tooth led me directly to the cheesecake, I'm dying to have a bite of it!

textual bulldog said...

this restaurant looks awesome, and i loved the part about your mom ordering the most adventurous thing. i totally find this to be true whenever we take my mom to a vegan restaurant. there will be 50 "normal" things and one kind of wild option that even i, the seasoned vegan, am too nervous to order, and inevitably my mom will order the wild thing! every time. i'm not sure what that's about, but i admire her pluck :)

theONLYtania said...

Ahh soo many entries! Haha, backing up to the party.. it looks awesome! Great job. I want the cupcakes... is that just really fine coconut on top of the ones? And the sushi looks fantastic.. my sushi skills are not up to par.
This restaurant looks very cool, I hope you're having a good trip! I must admit I'm a little bummed.. from the looks of it I thought that was peanut butter pie at first. Heh.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I'd love to try a vegetarian restaurant actually. People can be so lazy with meat dishes (meat and a bit of veg = dinner) so I'd like to see what they can come up with...

Chris said...

I'm glad you finally made it to Sunflower! Funny that we've been there many times and haven't had any of the items that you mentioned. I guess they do have a pretty extensive menu. I think our favorite is the fried mock chicken appetizer.

Too Fond of Books said...

I'm glad you liked Sunflower. We move from Northern Virginia last year and really miss it. Sunflower, that is, not Northern Virgina. We loved the fried mock chicken appetizer too, but we never tried any of the items ya'll ordered. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Theresa said...

Sounds like a great time--I love that you took your kitties with you on your road trip! They get to see the world.

Village Vegan said...

That food does look yummy! I'm glad your mom was so excited about trying it-- I'm afraid the same could not be said of my mother.

Dori said...

Love the food, the sights, the party Looks like you are having a fabulous time!

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Way to go on keeping us entertained even though you are busy traveling!

I enjoy Virginia as we have friends who live in Rappahanok (spelling??) and have visited a couple times. Even went to the Grey Ghost Winery - yum!

Glad all the veggie food worked out with your mom. My mom has said that tofu cannot enter her house. Not that she has ever had tofu, but she doesn't want it anyway. Oh well...I'll sneak it in somewhere sometime :)

-Crystal

wheresmymind said...

That cheesecake still looks grey though ;)

Kati said...

Bazu, you've been so busy! I'll have to catch up on all your posts...

I get neurotic when taking omnivores (esp. my parents!) out to vegan restaurants, too, so I'm glad all went well. All the food looks excellent!

laura jesser said...

It sounds like a great experience, especially with your mom. I feel the same way you do - if they were to have a bad experience with vegan food, I feel like they would be turned off forever! Enjoy your travels! (And come to Altanta!! :)

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

This looks like a fantastic restaurant, and your mom is awesome for having courage to try something new. Great review of Damn tasty! I need to get that...

Gaia said...

"(I don't know why I'm so neurotic, but I feel like all vegan foods have to "represent" and be really good, or someone will go away with a bad impression of veganism and never want to try anything again!)"

I am EXACTLY the same way. Such pressure we put on ourselves too !

Another great restaurant I want to visit now, thanks alot ! ;-)

Have a nice trip Bazu ! <3

Carrie™ said...

Looks like some mighty fine grub! Kudos to your mom for being adventurous! Enjoy your vacation Bazu.