In the news:
Blossom Vegetarian dishes come with meaty flavor
Blossom Vegetarian offers pseudo chicken, fish, pork and beef dishes along with prayers for the diners.
Seattle Times staff reporter
305 Burnett Ave. S., Renton
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Tuesday.
Etc.: Credit cards accepted; free parking in lot; alcohol will be served once a pending liquor license is approved.
Chef and Buddhist nun Hue Phan reportedly prays and meditates in the kitchen at Blossom Vegetarian Restaurant in hopes of imbuing each dish with positive energy that will pass on to happy diners.
Whatever she's doing at this downtown Renton eatery, opened last year at the location of another popular but defunct Asian dining spot with a similar name, the results are sublime.
Veteran restaurateur Huong Sens, who claims Phan as her "adopted sister" because they are so close, says she and a third partner, Jacque Nguyen, came up with the idea to replace the restaurant she used to run in this space with one serving only vegetarian fare last year after her daughter took her to see the documentary "Forks over Knives."
She became a vegetarian and made it her mission to offer a restaurant that promoted good health. But the real reason to try Blossom Vegetarian is guaranteed good eating.
The menu: Using soy- and wheat-based ingredients along with a stunning array of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, Phan conjures up some pleasantly surprising flavors and textures.
No meat is used in any of the dishes described as having "chicken," "pork,""beef" or "seafood."
Shredded-pork fresh rolls ($6) are favorites, and Sens promises the Mongolian beef ($12) will win over carnivores. Several dishes, like ginger fried fish, which comes wrapped in crispy seaweed that resembles fish skin ($13), and fleshy-looking jackfruit-root salad with Vietnamese ham and potato crackers ($10), may inspire double-takes.
What to write home about: The shredded-pork veggie rolls, with the robust flavor of seared pork skins and roasted rice but without actual pork, can't be missed. My partner's spicy lemongrass seitan ($10) was so deliciously close to barbecued chicken it had me stealing nibbles off his plate when he wasn't looking.
The setting: Half of an Asian-themed complex, Blossom boasts a large, beautifully decked-out dining room in shades of red. If the weather's nice, take advantage of the serene patio in back.
Summing up: Shredded-pork fresh rolls ($6), jackfruit salad ($10), spicy lemongrass seitan with brown rice ($12), ginger fried fish with rice ($14) and a Thai iced tea ($3.50) came to $45.50, plus tax and tip.
Tyrone Beason is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff writer.