Some might say there are few reasons to venture the non-metro-accessible depths of Virginia, and even fewer reasons to brave the Seven Corners. Sunflower vegetarian in Falls Church is one of them. This cheery restaurant (no subtlety in the decor here) is a mecca for vegans and vegetarians alike, especially when you’re craving a variety of proteins to go with your veggies.
Update: Okay, we’re being a leetle dramatic about accessibility. You can actually walk from East Falls Church Metro – it’s about 25 minutes.
So far we haven’t ordered anything we haven’t liked from the huge menu, although we do tend to stick to Asian-influenced rather than American and Italian-style items.
Cold basil rolls are some of the best we’ve found, with lots of vegetables, spiced tofu, and vegi ham. The savory peanut sauce is also the best we’ve had at a restaurant, second only to Anupama’s homemade magic stuff.
Wonton spinach soup is comforting and light, although next time I think I might try Tom Yum or the ‘Hot Hot Shabu Shabu’ featuring tofu skins and vegetables in a spicy broth.
Colorful vegetable lo mein is about as satisfying as it gets. Think pleasantly thick chewy noodles loaded up with vegetables, wood ear and shiitake mushrooms, and tofu, instead of oil and MSG. Try Anupama’s trick and order it with broccoli (though it’s perfectly tasty without).
Our favorite item so far might just be Adventure of Tempeh Land. My previous encounters with tempeh have always left a bad taste in my mouth, literally. No bitterness here though. The 5-grain tempeh imported from Japan is nutty and almost flaky in the way it falls apart, but still somehow moist. Apparently the trick is to steam the tempeh first and then deep-fry it, but we’re still looking for the right tempeh in area stores (tips, anyone?). This dish was also loaded with vegetables including asparagus, snow peas, red peppers, and mushrooms, all in a Thai coconut curry sauce that was delicious with brown rice.
Once again we walked out full and happy and making plans for our next visit. There are so many more dishes on the menu that piqued our interest, including udon and soba noodles and specials like As-You-Wish Garden with pan-fried noodles in a basil ginger sauce or Amazing Mushrooms Palate in Thai basil barbecue sauce.
So get a navigator and set out. You’ll probably get lost on the way, but Sunflower Vegetarian is worth it!
Note: we’re not sure why, but the Vienna location is a totally different and sad story. We’ve tried a couple of the same dishes we had at the Falls Church location and they were greasy, bland, and sometimes oddly bitter. It’s possible that we just ordered the wrong things, so if you’ve had a better experience in Vienna, we’d love to hear it!
6304 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044