Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let's toast good food and good friends

LotusImage by petrichor via Flickr
Lotus Cafe offers price-fixed, multi-course meals for four to 10 people.

I continued my birthday celebration on Saturday night by hosting an eight-course meal for family and friends at Lotus Cafe, the popular BYO Chinese restaurant in Hackensack.

We began by popping the cork on a bottle of pleasantly sweet Italian spumante wine and toasting good food and good friends.

I ordered our meal for six from the restaurant's price-fixed dinner and banquet menu. 

Eight courses -- from soup to sticky rice -- worked out to just under $23 a person, including tax and a 20% tip.

We started with bowls of tasty Seafood and Tofu Chowder, which had the consistency of egg-drop soup.

The next course was to be Three Cup Chicken Casserole, but I asked to substitute Shrimp Soong with Pine Nuts, which is served in a lettuce leaf that you roll up like a Chinese taco. I added hot chili paste to mine.

I skipped two of the following courses -- Crispy Aromatique Duck and Beef with Chili Pepper and Mustard Green.

But I loved a fresh-tasting Fillet of Sole with Yellow Chive and South Pacific Prawns, a pepper-and-salty preparation served on a bed of chopped lettuce, garlic and hot peppers that I added to my bowl of brown rice.

Our vegetable was crunchy Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli with Garlic, and instead of the usual ice cream or fruit platter, we received a hot dessert of sweet sticky rice glistening with corn syrup. 

After we finished the spumante, we drank fragrant tea. Want a refill of your  tea pot? Leave the cover open -- a universal sign in a Chinese restaurant.

Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack, 
in the Home Depot Shopping Center, 201-488-7070.
BYO, reservations necessary on weekends.

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