The Grasshopper is an all vegan Asian cuisine restaurant. I was first introduced to it about a month ago when the Student Activities Department at work (Suffolk University) hosted an all vegan luncheon – catered from the Grasshopper, of course. I tried a bit of everything but my faves were the tofu chicken fingers and a dish that resembled General Gao’s chicken (but it wasn’t spicy, nor chicken).
Anyways, I went home that raving about the “chicken fingers.” I begged my boyfriend to go with me ASAP to the actual restaurant as he lives really close to it in Brighton. Side note: he is a very picky eater and is completely vegetarian. I really didn’t think he would go with me but when he said yes I was so excited.
So last night we ventured out to Grasshopper. The restaurant itself is a bit tricky to get to if you aren’t driving. We took the B line to Warren Street, then walked down Gordon Street, turned right on Cambridge Street, and the Grasshopper is at the intersection of Cambridge and North Beacon Street. Total walk time was about 5-10 minutes.
We sit down and the place is kind of typically decorated in Asian/American chintz: Christmas lights strewn around, large hazy fish tank, weird animal portraits on all of the walls, little mood lighting lamps on the tables, etc. We get our menus and promptly get served tea and huge glasses of water, which I love because the sodium in Asian food can sometimes be too much for me; I need a glass of water handy!
So we look over the menu – I want the “chicken fingers,” the boyfriend wants something that resembles pork strips. We order the Vegi-Chicken fingers and the Barbecued Vegi-Pork and some sodas. They arrive, piping hot, and both on a bed of salad and dressing. Gorgeously plated and looking spectacular, we dug in. The Vegi-Chicken fingers are orgasmic – they have a very light, sweet batter and the tofu is the perfect consistency. The sweet sauce for dipping just adds to the experience. They aren’t too too greasy and soft rather than crunchy. I just adore these things. We didn't know what exactly to expect with the Barbecued Vegi-Pork but lo and behold, they looked EXACTLY like pork strips. The boyfriend was very pleased. However, not sure where the barbeque came from – I couldn’t tell what the flavoring was but it wasn’t very barbeque-ish. Anyways, they were strips, crunchy on the outside, stringy tofu on the inside. They were delish, especially combined with the spicy, vinegar-like dipping sauce they are served with – not to mention the sweet sauce and salad dressing we already had.
Next was dinner. I had no idea what my favorite faux General Gao’s chicken was called and the boyfriend told me he heard rave reviews of a dish called the “No Name.” I read the description on the menu (“Battered gluten in a sweet and sour sauce, served with assorted vegetables and topped with sesame seeds. Served with steamed brown rice and house salad”) and that kinda sounded like it so we ordered that and the House Fried Rice. The “No Name” arrived and it was indeed what I had had at work! I was so excited! Delicious fried little pieces of gluten in a sweet, savory sauce served over snow peas, broccoli, and water chestnuts and topped with sesame seeds. The “No Name” came with a side dish of plain brown rice and another small salad with dressing. This dish seriously tastes so much like chicken/pork I can’t even believe its vegan. The House Fried Rice was a bit…funkier. It was plain brown fried rice service with broccoli and snow peas served with a mélange of tofu, seitan, and gluten. I guess this dish is for people who like their fake meat to look like real meat because there were pieces that resembled shrimp, sausage, chicken, steak, etc. I for one don’t care about what it looks like as long as it tastes good. There were 5 kinds of fake meat in the friend rice and honestly, I didn’t really like any of them. There were chunks of tofu that looked torn apart and tasted like they came right out of the package, the shrimp looking pieces look EXACTLY like shrimp but the taste was too fake-fishy, there was another small white piece that tasted like water/nothing, then there was the seitan that tasted like cigarette smoke (yech), and lastly little thinly sliced strips of yellow tofu which were actually quite tasty. I fished out the rice, veggies, and yellow tofu for myself and my boyfriend and left the funky rest on the plate. The rice however tasted delicious, I was just a bit skeeved by the weirdo, meat shaped tofu.
Everything combined on a plate was divine – the sauce from the “No Name,” the lightness of the Vegi-Pork, the crunch of the gluten, and the sweetness of the “chicken fingers” all made this dining experience wonderful. We had TONS of leftovers which made up enough for 2 tupperware containers when we got home (I just scarfed mine for lunch).
The price: For 2 appetizers, 2 main dishes, and 2 sodas the bill came to about $33. I left $6 for a tip. This dinner was pricey but the portions were so huge, totally worth the price. Now we know next time to just order 1 appetizer and maybe just the “No Name,” as it came with its own rice plate anyways, we didn’t really need the fried rice.
Ending notes: This food was fantastic, I can totally see myself becoming a regular at the Grasshopper. Best of all the food didn’t leave me feeling heavy and laden with grease like normal Chinese food does. I was definitely stuffed beyond belief but I didn’t feel like I ingested mounds of icky gross ingredients. Everything was natural and healthy. And of course I loved that it didn’t give me a tummyache in the middle of the night. Also, the picky eater boyfriend LOVED it which I was blown away by. We will definitely be going back really soon.