The autumn green at Tea Garden is good in any season.
Tofu is the modern equivalent of liver and onions — the wrong texture has a way of sticking with carnivores and vegetarians alike. But at Tea Garden (12755 S Mur-Len Road, Olathe), nestled deep within the big box confines of Olathe, there is a tofu dish with tantalizing texture.
Autumn Green ($10.25) has lightly fried tofu served with whole spinach leaves in a brown sauce. The tofu has a crispy exterior and a slight chew inside like a fire-kissed marshmallow. The key is to wrap a silky spinach leaf around a few cubes. The greens enfold the fried tofu and add brightness to the soy-based brown sauce.
The pan-fried dumplings at Tea Garden.
If you’re a meat eater, the appetizers shine. The shrimp rangoon has a great crackle, while the oblong pork dumplings are hand-rolled and served with soy and garlic dipping sauce. They’re pan-fried to order, so ask for them when you get a cup of hot jasmine tea. [Note to parents: With plastic kids’ plates, booster seats and a warm staff, this restaurant is exceptionally kid friendly.]
Tea Garden is open Monday through Saturday. They serve a lunch buffet ($8.25) from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. The buffet includes beef, shrimp and chicken dishes, as well as lo mein, shrimp rangoon, pan-fried dumplings, egg rolls and fried chicken wings. They’ve also been offering the buffet on Sundays (same hours), but will stop offering it this Sunday, January 26. The restaurant is closed from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., but reopens for dinner from 5 to 8:45 p.m. The phone number is 913-397-0057.