Well the South Jerseyite ventured to Hackansack, NJ to meet a friend of a visiting friend from California. We drove to South Hackansack and Kathy suggested the Lotus Cafe. Well, it rocked!!!
I think I WILL drive the 2 1/2 hours from my home in South Jersey for this place again. It's located in a strip mall/horseshoe mall of typical chains. But the food, portion, presentation, and selection just was unbeatable.
What was so great you ask? The menu IS fairly standard in terms of typical Cantonese/Mandarin selections with a few exceptions..... There were several filet of sole selections in black bean, brown or oyster sauces. You don't see fish on the mneu too much on the EAST COAST in Chinese restaurants. There also were salmon selections.
But I'll get to what we started with...steamed dumplings: choice of vegetable or seafood stuffing...8 to an order for $4.95. What the menu didn't say was that they were spinach dough based--nice surprise, great texture/dipping sauce. Plates were pretty as was the decor/ tight but live flowers/planters abound with knives served without asking and steak knives at that.
We then shared Hunan Chicken, Chicken Curry and my special request, salmon in black bean sauce.
The salmon was served tableside on a plank with the sauce/veggies added to a sizzle and smoke. The salmon was probably a 12-16 ounce piece. The veggies were to make tasting (no green pepper or baby corn)--brocholi, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts....
The Hunan Chicken was fried white meat in a sticky, sweet red sauce that had a hint of heat as it went down the gullet. It was served with a giant edible flower I think made of pickled radish, but it looked like a giant red aster. The chicken Curry was flavorful with tasty veggies. Your choice of brown or white rice.
Constant service of water/tea, cleaning up of crumbs without asking!! I think the most expensive entree was $12.95..The rest of the entrees were in the $8-12 range. We finished nothing!!!
CHOCOLATE fortune cookies followed. I didn't even know that they made chocolate ones.
They bowed to us as we left--the owners, same family. I bowed to them and told them "they rocked." (I don't think they knew what that meant.) When I made the comment, a gentlemen in his 20's was getting a takeout order. He turned to me and agreed that "this place rocked." On the way out to the car (plenty of parking..it's a shopping mall), that gentlemen asked us if we had tried the tangerine beef. We said no, but he said you HAVE TO GET THAT next time!!!