Sunny Gardens, tucked away in a strip mall on East Yale Avenue, looks like a typical neighborhood Chinese restaurant -- until you open up the menu. Because there, tucked between the usual listings for fried rice, egg foo young and lo mein, is a lengthy vegetarian section, offering dishes made with chicken-, shrimp- and beef-flavored mock meat. See also:WaterCourse Foods, Denver's landmark vegetarian restaurant, should chart a more creative course.
Through a translator, chef-owner Sunny Chen said that this emphasis on mock meat stems not from personal reasons - he and his wife are omnivores - but from the fact that "having been a cook for so long, I know there are people out here that want vegetarian."
That's certainly true, judging from the popularity of WaterCourse Foods, which I recently reviewed. But is the food at Sunny Gardens, whether meat or plant-based, what people want? Find out when my review is posted on westword.com tomorrow.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.