For my third birthday celebration meal, I invited friends to gather last night at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack to enjoy a bountiful dinner for eight from a special menu.
This nine-course meal of soup, seafood, beef, pork and vegetables ended with a sweet, warm rice pudding ($120).
With tax and a $25 tip, the cost was under $19.50 per person. I brought my own bottle of French champagne. The restaurant serves similar dinners for four and six people, and banquets for 10 people.
We started with lobster and cream corn soup and an appetizer of shrimp soong with pine nuts, which is eaten wrapped in a lettuce leaf.
Our entrees were beef casserole in X.O. sauce, spicy shrimp and scallops (pepper-and-salty style), Emperor's pork loin, and a whole, fried striped bass that seemed to be swimming in sauce.
Other dishes were Chinese squash and enoki mushrooms, and chewy, homemade braised noodles with chicken and spinach, and white or brown rice. Desserts were ice cream, pineapple chunks and lichee, and warm, eight-treasurer rice pudding with dates.
Everything was terrific. I live near Lotus Cafe, long one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, and we ordered Friday night meals from there when I was at The Record.
Mr. Philip Su, the owner, shops for his seafood at Mitsuwa Marketplace, the big Japanese supermarket in Edgewater, and serves a mix of Taiwanese, Cantonese and Hong Kong-style dishes.
Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack; 201-488-7070, open seven days for lunch and dinner.
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