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Family Featured Food, Restaurants & Dining Fara Illich July 22, 2010

Vegetarians often get the short end of the sticky bun. There are very few all-veg restaurants anywhere in the Valley, and the quality of the food is sometimes borderline at best. On the bright side, vegetarian options are sprouting up all over Downtown, and one of the best places to find them is at any of the local Asian spots. Take your pick:
Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen – The Arizona Republic gave this lively Japanese eatery a solid thumbs-up. Vegetarians can avert their eyes from the sushi and consider the red miso soup and edamame appetizers before heading for the main event: a section called “Hot Kitchen,” which features 10 different stir-fry bases, all vegetarian. You have the option to add tofu or simply eat your veggies as mom intended. (And yes, non-vegetarians dining with you can add a protein to their dish). Try the Kareh Raisu, a yummy red curry or the Firecracker, made with a spicy mango-wasabi sauce.
Hsin_CafeHsin Café – This friendly spot, located on the ASU Downtown campus, has a simple, tasty and extremely affordable menu. Order the Veggie Delight for only $5.99; it’s made with fruit, which may sound odd, but actually adds lightness and flavor.
Nobuo at Teeter House – As most of us have heard by now (Editor’s Note: Or read in the 2010 Downtown Dining Guide), the newest kid on the block is Nobuo at Teeter House.  Helmed by award-winning Chef Nobuo Fakuda, this new spot is currently open just for lunch and has a limited menu. But, if you’d like to get a jump start on sampling his food, there’s one vegetarian dish you can order: The Tofu Salad, which includes udon noodles with a sesame dressing.
Sens Asian Tapas & Sake Bar – A hot date night spot, Sens is also a vegetarian-friendly restaurant. I’ve dined here with friends, and loved their small plate approach, which gives you room to sample more. Most of their lunch items – from the wok dishes to the shitake mushroom-based soups – provide the option to add tofu to your veggies. At dinner, sample the claypot-cooked Red Curry Tofu or any of five vegetarian entrees.
Thai Elephant – I think this one’s a given. Everyone who lives or works Downtown has probably eaten here and knows the prices are affordable and the dishes are delectable. Ordering here is a snap for vegetarians, since most lunch and dinner items can be prepared with tofu. If you’re a vegan, just keep in mind that a few dishes, including Pad Thai, are made with egg.