Bamboo Garden, Clement St, San Francisco
Just ate there last night. Very reasonable prices for delicious Chinese Vegetarian food.
We ordered their fixed price menu but swapped out the lemon "chicken" with a really good "eel" dish and added a noodle dish.
I thought the first dish of assorted gluten was ok and perhaps a bit on the tough side, except for the fake chicken on top. Gluten and bean curd skin were rolled and then fried, and sliced to reveal a chicken like cross section. The meaty texture meshed very nicely with the lacy outer coating. A superior version and truly my favorite of the night.
Soup came next. It was whole hearted with shreds of mushrooms and bamboo among other things and also loaded with a generous amount of mung bean vermicelli. A satisfying blend of crunchy vegetable textures and very suitable for a wintry night.
Then another dish with fried rolls of bean curd skin, this time accompanied by a dark soy-based gravy. Not bad, but pales in comparison to the fake eel.
I liked the fake eel a lot (my buddy tells me it's one of their specialities). Bean curd skin rolled up with seaweed (for that delightful "fishy" flavor), julienned turnip (I think) and deep fried. Over it a sauce with plenty of enoki mushrooms.
We also get a very light and flavorful taro fish, essentially mashed taro shaped like a fish and fried. Exterior is delicate and crispy. Also another favorite of mine.
The mushrooms (suppose to be fake beef I think) were stir-fired with a good dose of basil that made quite interesting. Mushrooms fans will like this one. Just be careful that short skewers are used to hold 2 mushrooms together to give them the dimensions of beef slices. Look before you eat.
The fake cuttle fish and squid in the tasty mixed seafood dish was very good - the crunchy resilence wasn't as hefty as the real thing, but it came very close.
I also enjoyed the impressive rendition of yee noodles (it's called dynasty noodles on the menu). The noodles come with golden mushrooms and the texture of the noodles are just perfect. The dish is moist and well-oiled, but not wet at all.
There was also a very classic dish of fried tofu with plump and sweet shiitake mushrooms and baby bak choy. The fried tofu was excellent - very soft delicate interiors beneath a thin and super crispy shell.
Dessert was an OK walnut soup. Decent flavor, although I would have liked a lot more intense walnutty fragrance.
On the whole a good bet. The bulk of us were meat eaters and we snarfed down the food happily. The gentle service was nice and friendly and significantly better that what I've come to expect at neighborhood chinese places. Service charge was added to the bill (we had a party of 7) and it came to about $102 for the lot of us (leftovers included - we couldn't finish).