New Grand View is a Rare Find
In this city, it’s hard to believe that there are so few places like the New Grand View restaurant at 4181 Fraser Street. This Szechuan-style Chinese eatery features an entire section of the menu specifically dedicated to vegetarian dishes. Of course, any vegetarian who’s ever eaten Chinese food knows that the standards (i.e. Chow Mein, Fried Rice) are not only bastardized versions of any real Chinese dish, but they’re also low in protein, high in fat and carbs, and generally unsatisfying.
There are reasons that people say you’ll be hungry an hour after eating Chinese food, and those reasons are the standard food-court-specials which have historically characterized the entire Western concept of “Chinese” food.
At the Grand View, you have other options. For example, I got the vegetarian honey-garlic “chicken”. The veggie “chicken” is actually pieces of a soy/gluten loaf of sorts—much tastier than it sounds, and familiar to any vegetarian who’s ever had a veggie “ham”—lightly breaded, deep-fried, and then coated in a sweet honey-garlic sauce. The sauce is very sweet and tastes more like sugar than honey, but the dish is good. You don’t notice how fast you’re eating it until either it’s almost gone or else you realize that you’re about to burst.
Combined with a little rice and some broccoli in garlic sauce (the brocolli cuts the oily sweetness of the veggie chicken dish), it makes a delicious and balanced meal. What’s more, it’s a high-protein vegetarian option which leaves you feeling satisfied. With more than enough to feed two people, that veggie “chicken” dish and the broccoli, along with some steamed rice, comes in at just over $22 before tax and tip.
Of course, that was a deep-fried dish. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself. If you’re looking for a less greasy option, there are a few on the menu, such as the vegetarian chicken with cashews. Although the fried rice can also be very oily at the Grand View, it is tasty and there are a few different vegetarian fried rice dishes on the menu, in addition to your basic steamed rice.
However, the reason that the Grand View will always be special to me is that they make a vegetarian version of one of my favourite dishes in the whole world: Hot and Sour Soup. Not only is this a very tasty version of the soup in its vegetarian incarnation, but it is affordable, coming in at 4.95 for a single serving and 6.95 for a large bowl to share with the whole table.
Most of the vegetarian entrees cost about $10, the most expensive running $14. Unlike somewhere like Bo-Kong (a very good Buddhist place near Burgoo on Main), the Grand View is not a vegetarian restaurant. Most of their menu consists of animals, so be aware, should you decide to go. However, there are a number of positive signs when you go looking for something meatless. The staff, in my experience, is very friendly. On their menu, right at the top of the vegetarian section, they advise you to specify if your order is vegetarian, and that they welcome special orders.
This seems to announce that they are to be trusted. As well, the fact that you can find all of the standard Chinese dishes, like Lemon Chicken with actual chicken or Sweet and Sour Pork with actual pork, makes it more likely that anyone accompanying you will find something they want without feeling put-upon for being forced to eat vegetarian. Who knows, if you don’t mind sharing, even the most hard-headed carnivore might find that they like the meatless options too.
For more information, check out their website (www.grandviewrestaurant.com), where you’ll find their contact info, a complete menu, hours of operation (they’re closed Mondays), and a 2-for-1 coupon. The atmosphere is casual.