Luke Tsai’s compelling article on Veggie Lee, put the vegetarian Chinese restaurant high on my priority list and I recently had a chance to eat there-- the first of many future visits since I’m in that area a lot.
The chef/owner used to work at Daimo, and his chops were reflected in his flawless execution with greens like the Shanghai bok choy in a bean curd skin dish or even the western broccoli that that laid underneath his version of General’a chicken.
Veggie Lee conforms with Buddhism Chinese practices by not using garlic or onion, and I didn’t notice their absence in the dishes we tried. The ‘toon pancake’ is their take on a scallion pancake, greaseless, thin, and flaky, and uses leaves from the Toon tree to approximate the onion taste. The resemblance is uncanny and you’d be remiss to not order this $3.95 item.
The Tofu skin and Shanghai bok choy has a rich, umami-potent broth yet was still light.
We got the General’s chicken to add heft to the meal. The sauce was tangy and barely sweet and the flavor of the gluten was more pronounced than the chicken would be in versions made wth breast meat. All in all, an admirable version, but I’d like more heat.
On the downside, the e-fu noodles were overcooked and I regret not taking my dining companion’s suggestion to test the chef’s wok hei skills with chow fun.