I went with a friend to Bean Sprouts last night - I loved it. Besides the popcorn chicken and beef noodle soup (thanks for the rec's Chandavkl), we also ordered spicy wonton and teriyaki grilled eel rice. I agree with Chandavkl, this Bean Sprouts is the real deal ;-)
The popcorn chicken was definitely the highlight. The chicken was served hot, crispy, salty and white peppery - delicious. The spicy wonton was good too. The skin was thin, and the filling was light, fragrant, and mushroomy. I am used to a spicier or stronger sauce for this. I think if the chilli oil or sauce were more pronounced, this spicy wonton would be another standout dish on the menu.
The beef noodle soup is just like Chandavkl described. It looked genuine and the flavor was faithful to the original. While we are on the subject of this "beef", I have to say I do not go into a vegetarian restaurant and take major issues with the mock meats. Pointing out the tofu or gluten does not taste like actual beef or chicken is like arguing Whitney Houston does not sound like Dolly Parton. Of course she doesn't, but Whitney does a great cover version of Dolly's original. It's the reinterpretation of the original and the creativity of that re-appropriation that I take note and appreciate.
The teriyaki grilled eel rice was quite nice. It was served similar to Sin-Ba-Lah's style: Grilled eel on top of the rice (chewy brown rice actually, healthy healthy), and on the side, pink pickled ginger slices, steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and stir fried vegies. The eel was creamy (super fine soft tofu), fishy (grilled with seaweed underneath), and slightly toasty (loved the toasted sesame seeds on top). The eel had a subtle ginger aroma that was both surprising and wonderful. The teriyaki dressing might be a little sweet for some, but all in all, a solid all-in-one tasty meal right there.
Simply put, Bean Sprouts is a charming and smart choice for healthy, tasty, and great vegetarian dining.
The server we had was very friendly and helpful. The restaurant will be closed for a few days for renovations and menu updates (they are adding more dishes). So if you're planning to visit in the next couple of weeks, be sure to call and check with their hours first :-)
"Be warned though, that the food is on a serious downward decline."
So the food at QQ tasted even better before? Nice. I left feeling more than satisfied, both with their service and the dishes we ordered. If I had been going there longer, I would have known about the difference.
There's always SinBaLah, of course, which has been pretty consistent :) However, they don't have a good selection in vegetarian dishes - QQ offers a generous vegetarian menu in a conventional, non-vegetarian, Taiwanese restaurant. That is not easy to come by.
We had a great Taiwanese lunch at QQ Kitchen last Saturday. This place serves all my favorite street snacks from Taiwan. To my surprise, they also have a good selection of vegetarian dishes on the menu and off. We had gua bao (steamed sandwich), rou-gen noodle (meat paste noodle soup), zhong zi (leaf steamed stuffed sticky rice), oyster cake and green onion pancake - all vegetarian. Generally their flavor is on the mild side, so a little salt here and a little hot sauce there might be required. They do state on their menu that they're a "low salt" restaurant, so it's a bonus if you are watching your sodium intake. This is a nice alternative to Happy Family or other strictly vegetarian Chinese restaurants - which serve mostly standard and "pretty" vege / tofu / mock meat dishes. I'm glad to find another solid Taiwanese restaurant in the neighborhood - I love LA!