Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where $22 buys a tasty six-course meal

Seafood and Tofu Casserole at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack.

Lobster and Cream Corn Soup.

Few celebratory meals are as satisfying as a multi-course Chinese banquet, but you don't have to assemble a large group to enjoy such a feast at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack.

The BYO serves Dinners for Four, Six and Eight -- 6-, 8- and 10-course price-fixed meals for $69 to $160, plus tax and gratuity.

We had a delicious Dinner for Four on Monday night -- 5 courses of seafood, tofu and vegetables, plus dessert -- for about $22 per person, including tax and a 20% tip.

We couldn't finish the food, and I enjoyed the leftovers for dinner at home on Tuesday.

Filet of Sole with Ginger and Scallion.

Crunchy Chinese Broccoli sauteed with fresh garlic.

We've been going to Lotus Cafe for years, so I asked owner Philip Su if he could modify the Dinner for Four menu to eliminate dishes with pork and chicken, and give us only seafood.

We started with Lobster and Cream Corn Soup -- instead of Chicken & Wild Bamboo Soup -- and our  Lotus Mooshu Delight, served wrapped in thin rice pancakes, was made with shrimp instead of shredded pork.

Then we had the Seafood and Tofu Casserole (shrimp, scallop, squid and fish cake), Filet of Sole with Ginger and Scallion, and Chinese Broccoli (see photos).

The restaurant upgraded the usual dessert of Litchi and Pineapple to three big scoops of ice cream and orange sections.

We brought a half bottle of red wine to have with the meal, along with unlimited tea and small bowls of white or brown rice. 

An individual bowl of the egg-drop soup with vinegar.

Lotus Mooshu Delight is crowned with an egg crepe.

Hoisin Sauce for Lotus Mooshu Delight can be added before noodles, tofu, vegetables and shrimp are wrapped in pancakes. At rear, chili paste and Chinese vinegar.

If you can get 10 people together, Lotus Cafe will serve you a 12-course feast --  the Formosa Banquet -- for $268.

Ten to 12 people can order the 12-course Lotus Banquet for $338.

From the Dinner for Four to the Lotus Banquet for 10 to 12, each meal offers contrasting flavors and textures from one of the best Chinese restaurants in North Jersey.

Here are some of the dishes on the Special Prix Fixe Dinner and Banquet Menu:

Emperor's Pork Loin, Crispy Aromatique Duck, X.O. Beef Casserole, Paradise Chicken, Giant Meat Ball Casserole, and Five Delicacy Cold and Hot Appetizer Platter.

Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., in the Home Depot Shopping Center, Hackensack; 201-488-7070.

BYO, open seven days, parking lot, reservations recommended on weekends and holidays. 

Web site: Lotus Cafe


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