So it's kind of exciting when a new veg restaurant opens up in the suburbs. Now if we had a full-fledged vegan bakery, I'd pretty much be all set!
Lotus Vegetarian is located in Chantilly, near the intersection of Routes 50 and 28, in the same plaza as K-Mart and Lowe's (Sully Place). (13872 Metrotech Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151, 703-378-6888.) It's a small but pleasant space, very casual with plenty of booths. You order at a counter - I believe for eat in or takeout. (I think they might have waitress service if you eat in, but I was doing takeout, so I'm not sure.)
I've read online that the owners worked at Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant (located in Vienna and Seven Corners) and the menu is very similar, although less extensive. It's Asian-inspired, with lots of faux meat dishes, some salads, veggie items, soups, "burgers" and sandwiches, rice and noodles, smoothies and juices. The menu is mostly vegan, with dishes containing egg and dairy clearly marked. Unfortunately their desserts all contain egg.
I wanted to try a few things to get a sense of the quality, so I ordered Summer Rolls, Avocado Roll and Vege-Chicken with Cashews.
The Summer Rolls (rice paper wrapped with vege-ham, basil, jicama, carrots, lettuce and dry spiced tofu) were nice, but a little smaller than I am used to. Usually the summer rolls I've purchased and made are more plump - so I was a little disappointed at their skimpiness. The dipping sauce was soy-sauce based, rather than the peanut sauce common with Vietnamese rolls. I probably wouldn't order them again...but they aren't bad.
The Avocado Roll (avocado, vege-crab meat, cucumber, black and white sesame seeds in nori sheet) were good, but I could have used some more wasabi. The roll itself was a very generous serving, though. They also have a Rainbow Roll (vege-ham, tofu skin, organic carrots, pickled radish, asparagus, cucumber and soy protein strips) which I definitely want to try next time. Overall, a good vegetarian way to satisfy a sushi fix.
The Vege-Chicken with Cashews (diced soy protein sauteed with sugar peas, zucchini, organic carrots, jicama, while mushrooms and cashew nuts in brown sauce) was excellent. I really liked the flavor and the texture of the protein. I would have liked a few more nuts, but I'm just whining. The jicama was a nice, crunchy addition. The brown rice accompanying the dish was cooked right. (My husband went without me and tried the Vege-Beef with Snow Peas [marinated soy beef sauteed with snow peas, organic carrots, jicama and lotus root in brown sauce] and said it was also excellent.)
The take-out packaging needs a little work. Things leaked and got shifted around. Just beware...
Overall I was very pleased and look forward to visiting often and dining in-house. I think it's so important to support local veg establishments, to ensure that more people get to try vegetarian foods and that the public sees establishments thriving.
Upcoming review: Mei's Asian Bistro, Arlington, VA