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Vegetarians in Paradise

 Vegetarian Restaurant Review

R: Like welcoming a new baby into the family, we always look forward to bringing a new vegetarian restaurant into our veg community. And while our vegetarian eateries are all quite special to us, some are exceptional.

Z: We recently broke bread at One World Vegetarian Cuisine, a new dining delight. Opening its doors in July of this year, this restaurant is already gathering an enthusiastic clientele.

R: And for good reason! The food is outstanding and attractively presented, the service is friendly and attentive, and the ambience is delightful. The moment we were seated, Crystal, our caring server, brought us a tiny dish of dry roasted peanuts to nibble while we perused the extensive menu.

Z: With her helpful suggestions we selected Sautéed Garlic and Veggie Beef Balls, Grilled Veggie Beef Teriyaki, and Stuffed Tomatoes. We were given a choice of white or brown rice. And, of course, we opted for the brown. Then, instead of one of the tempting appetizers, we chose two soups, the Aulacese Sweet and Sour and the Spinach Tofu.

One World Vegetarian Cuisine R: Though Vietnamese dishes are dominant, the flavor of an eclectic Asia is prevalent in the menu items that also include some Indian, Italian, Mexican, and American influences. One World also provides tasteful décor where the warmth of bamboo wraps the lower half of the walls and completely covers the pitched ceiling.

Z: And that's not all! Bamboo screens separate the tables along the walls, while a bamboo roof hangs over the bamboo covered service desk, all resulting in an environment that oozes comfort and warmth.

R: First to arrive was the Aulacese Sweet and Sour Soup with its tasty tamarind- flavored broth that was heaping with bean sprouts, pineapple chunks, cubes of tofu and tomato slices. Elephant ears, an Asian vegetable we had never met before, were also included along with cilantro and green onions. Curious about the word Aulacese, we learned it's the old way of referring to Vietnam or Vietnamese.

Z: The Spinach and Tofu Soup was a simpler combination of fresh spinach, chunks of tofu, cilantro, mushrooms, and onions in a light, yet flavorful broth quite different from our other soup.

R: Our entrées arrived individually, giving us the opportunity to appreciate the presentations and savor the outstanding flavors. The well-marinated Grilled Veggie Beef Teriyaki skewers lay on a large lettuce leaf that lined the entire plate. Nestling up to the skewers were perfectly steamed broccoli florets and baby carrots, while the generous mound of brown rice was topped with chopped toasted peanuts. Garnishes were many: half slices of tomatoes, angle sliced cucumbers, julienne red bell peppers, and a light sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds over all.

Z: The Stuffed Tomatoes were the most unique dish we had ever ordered in an Asian restaurant. The oval platter held 4 half-tomatoes filled with a well-seasoned combination of tofu, veggie meat, onions, and mushrooms that were topped with an exquisitely flavored fresh tomato sauce that also pooled at the base of the tomatoes. This truly outstanding creation was accompanied by a side dish of brown rice topped with toasted peanuts.

R: Another of One World's exceptional dishes is the Sautéed Garlic Veggie Beef Balls, on a lettuce lined platter topped with little finger-nail size tidbits of veggie beef sautéed in an aromatic, lightly sweetened garlic sauce splashed with a touch of soy sauce and sesame oil. Surrounding the tasty tidbits were sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, julienne-cut red bell pepper, and slices of purple onion. A sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds added the finishing touch. This dish also included a side of peanut-topped brown rice and a little bowl of delicately flavored sweet and sour dipping sauce for the beef balls.

Z: All three of our entrées were truly awesome and demonstrated the chef's creativity and his desire to present signature dishes diners were not likely to find in other restaurants. Many caring touches made this an outstanding dining experience. The background music was very diverse and pleasantly soft. A fresh rose in full bloom adorned every table along with a tea candle resting in a bamboo holder. Framed photos of famous vegetarians hung above the large front window. A small replica of the smiling Buddha graced the service desk along with a vase of purple orchids.

R: We thought our meal was over and were surprised when Crystal returned to our table with fresh oranges cut into wedges. When she brought the check, we noticed she had tucked a take-home menu inside the check folder. The final gesture was the tiny bowl that held two cello-wrapped red and white-striped mint candies that Crystal presented after processing our credit card.

Z: The menu offers much diversity at very reasonable prices. For lighter fare, there are creative salads like the Aulacese Salad, the Four Seasons Salad, or the Fiesta Salad. The variety of sandwiches and veggie burgers could even appeal to non-vegetarians as well. Diners desiring traditional Vietnamese cuisine could select Pho, the full-meal noodle-based soup served with a side dish of fresh mint and bean sprouts. Pho choices include Royal Veggie Beef Noodle Soup, Golden Noodle Soup, or the Golden Noodle Soup with Wontons.

R: The menu proudly states that all soups are prepared from scratch with the natural flavors and sweetness of fresh vegetables, and foods are cooked with filtered water. Even people with food allergies will receive TLC. While most of the menu items are vegan or can be made vegan, there are some dishes that contain dairy.

Z: We welcome One World Vegetarian Cuisine into the vegetarian family and wish them success, long life, and many happy customers. May they live to a ripe old age.

One World Vegetarian Cuisine
178 S. Glendora Ave., West Covina, CA 91790
Phone: 626-917-2727
Hours: Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Web site: http://www.oneworldveggie.com

Reviewed November 2004

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