Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trying to land a big fish at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack

Fillet of Sole with Yellow Chive at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack.


When you eat out with others, including members of your own family, you'll inevitably need to compromise.

On Saturday night at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack, my wife put her foot down: No whole fish.

I stopped eating meat and poultry more than four years ago, and we've always enjoyed steamed whole fish with ginger and scallion, and reasonable prices at our favorite Chinese restaurant.

The waiter said the kitchen had whole flounder and whole striped bass, one of the best-eating fish around. 

Shrimp & Tofu in Shrimp Roe Sauce was good, but the sauce sounded more interesting than it was.

We brought home leftover Chinese Broccoli sauteed with fresh garlic, and the crunchy, bright-green vegetable was delicious eaten cold the next day.

Wife wants fish fillets 

I looked over the menu's extensive seafood selection, looking for dishes we haven't tried in the many years I have patronized Lotus Cafe.

I picked Fillet of Sole with Yellow Chive ($17.95), Shrimp & Tofu in Shrimp Roe Sauce ($15.95), and Chinese Broccoli with Fresh Garlic ($9.95).

I tried a few pieces of the sole, which was lightly floured, and it tasted fishy, but my wife and mother-in-law said the fish tasted fine to them.

We didn't finish the sole and I mentioned my concern to Philip Su, one of the owners, and he took the plate back to the kitchen to speak with the chef.

He returned to say the fillets were definitely fresh. Still, he deducted the price from our bill.

Curious, I asked him the size of the fresh whole striped bass available, and he said 2.5 pounds, adding the whole flounder was even bigger.

Lotus Cafe, a BYO, uses 100% vegetable oil and no MSG.

Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack, in the Home Depot Shopping Center; 201-488-7070. BYO, large parking lot. Open 7 days. Reservations recommended on weekends.

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