Seven hounds, including one cousin-to-a-local hound visiting from Brooklyn, gathered to welcome Vietnamese favorite Lotus Garden back to the upper Mission/Bernal Heights neighborhood last night...and yes, it is not only as good as ever, but in some ways is even better! We had a wonderful time, lingering over a long leisurely dinner, several bottles of wine, and conversation that focused (of course) on food. I couldnt believe it was after my bedtime when hubby and I finally made the walk back up Mission and home...
Indeed, from my point of view the fact that Lotus Garden is now 10 blocks from my home instead of three is the only aspect that hasnt changed for the better in the new location.
First change: the wine list: We brought three bottles with us, remembering the barely adequate (if that) list from the old location, but there is a new list. I only glanced at it briefly, but it appears to be all French, and while it is short, most if not all selections under $30. We ordered one Pinot (I think) from the list, and it was quite drinkable...
Other pluses are the more sophisticated décor (The owner Kathy chatted with us as she brought the dishes and mentioned that during their hiatus she did some serious shopping in Vietnam) and larger room, and best of all: there were more folks (not including our table) enjoying the place than I remember from any or my many visit to the old location! The bad news is: on weekends you might want to call ahead for a reservation, but lets just hope that means that the new location will be the charm that keeps them in business for a long time to come
So on to the food: we enjoyed some old favorites, and a few new dishes as well. Our hound-in-charge-of-ordering is probably still sight-seeing with the Brooklyn cousin, so I may miss a few dishes, and hopefully the others will speak up if I do.
Dishes we tried included:
The hot and sour soup
Lotus Garden crab (probably my last this year)
Grilled chicken in rice paper (a new dish, grilled tableside)
Vietnamese potstickers (sort of a meatball?)
raw beef salad
Eggplant (with garlic if memory serves)
What did I miss after that fourth bottle of wine?
Anyway, I loved my old favorites (the crepe, the hot and sour soup, raw beef salad, and crab) as much as ever, and also the grilled chicken in rice paper was an outstanding new dish that Ill have again....
Service was warm and lovely, as ever.
I'm happy. I've really missed this neighborhood favorite!
West side of Mission Street at the Corner of Valencia
(sorry, forgot to get the new address, someone hopefully will chime in).