Lotus Blue is a Chinese restaurant in Tribeca focusing on Yunnan style cuisine. Rustic interior in a slightly shabby-chic trendy, Chinoiserie fashion. N.B. for some reason I can never get cell service inside the restaurant but step outside, and voila.
I've been eating at Lotus Blue for lunch over the past few months and have tried the majority of their lunch special menu. The food comes out pretty quickly and the waitstaff is friendly. They're an interesting mix of Chinese, Thai and Filipino.
Today I had bacon with shrimp paste, the bacon is stir fried, deliciously porky with shrimp funk and sprinkled with shredded kaffir lime and covered with crispy basil. It's only offered on Monday and Tuesdays and it's my favorite lunch special there. It comes with a choice of soup or salad (in 20+ lunches I've never had the salad) and the soup is always a pumpkin broth with mushrooms. The pumpkin soup is a thin broth, pleasantly mild (i.e. not salty) with clouds of pumpkin bits.
I also had the mango chicken, which has varied in preparation depending on the ripeness of the mango. Sometimes the dish is very sweet with soft, ripe mango and chunks, today, the mango was slightly green, crisper and the mango was cut in 1/4 inch width, strips. The chicken is stir fried in a sha cha-like sauce that I believe is used in almost, every, single lunch special. I've ordered the basil chicken, the dali chicken, the long horn chicken, the basil beef, the shrimp fried rice, the garlic chive blossom pork... they all had the same base sauce which tends to overpower any other flavors or herbs that are used (e.g. the basil chicken has no basil flavor). Which is not an issue if you order only one lunch special, but I tend to order 2-3 and other than the bacon with shrimp paste and pearl studded pork.
The pearl studded pork ribs do not have the "lotus blue" sauce, but I also wasn't a fan of them since the quality of the pork was not great and had an unpleasant off-note. It was a shame because lotus leaf steamed pork is one of my favorite dishes and this rendition was just a little oily with off-pork flavor. It might have been a bad day since I have only ordered the dish once.
They have mango with sticky rice that's four large chunks of mango over coconut sticky rice with sesame seeds. The dish is served with warm rice and fairly good, not too sweet or salty.
The bacon with shrimp paste lunch special is $10 and is a generous portion, I definitely recommend it most. The lunch specials are generously portioned and will fill all but gluttons like me. Lunch with two soups, two entrees is under $25. Overall, a great value and one of the best places to have lunch that's near FIDI.