After the demise of the local Leaf eatery, a raw vegan food place rarely appreciated by non-vegans, I decided to heroically try a new (vegan) place I’d not been to before. Using my trusty guides (Google and Yelp), I found Lotus Vegan. It’s a small, family-run Thai place with a shabby interior, most frequently visited by local, tattooed hipsters.
Like many good Thai restaurants, Lotus Vegan offers a ‘spicy’ scale for many of their dishes. This humbling scale allows you to customize how much kick you want in your curry. Prior to ever visiting a place that offered such a scale, I always ordered the hottest, spiciest dish at an eatery. I thought I was such a badass, because I put hot sauce or peppers on anything, given the opportunity; Slices of pizza looked like the cook had neglected any cheese topping, after I was done sprinkling dried red chili flakes on them. After meeting and experimenting with the ‘spicy’ scale, I’ve concluded I’m a bit of a wuss. I want just enough kick to make my food interesting, but not so much that my lunch date and I can’t have a decent conversation because I’m panting and crying the whole time. I’d choose a 3, on a scale of 1-5. I humbly accept my average Spicy score on the spice scale, acknowledging that I just don’t make the cut for the more hardcore Very Spicy score.
Lotus Vegan’s curries are really wonderful. I love soaking my rice with it, just before putting it into my mouth. It’s creamy, tart, coconutty (and as spicy as you want it to be) – such a great combination of things in a good Thai curry. I chose tofu as the protein, but they offer a selection of veggie meats there are pretty decent.
I ordered the Basil Eggplant dish, thinking I was in for a real treat. In most restaurants, I order this without any ‘meat’ whatsoever, but I thought I’d try their ‘chicken.’ I found it was a bad combination in this particular dish. It was a bit overpowering, and the sauce really couldn’t provide enough backup flavor to make it taste good. With a curry, I’m sure the ‘chicken’ would have been great, since the sauce is so flavorful.
For dessert, I ordered the mango with sticky rice. I’ve had this dish before, but never quite this good. Fresh mango and sweet, sticky rice is pretty tasty…and it’s even more amazing when the sticky rice is black! You don’t get that carb-crash, full, boated feeling as easily as you do from white rice.
The best time to come here is lunch. The place isn’t as packed, and you get much better service as a result. Our dinner visit was rushed, and we were, sadly, not offered any of their desserts. Our waitress remembered us from our first visit, and told us that they hadn’t any mangoes. Still, it would have been nice to have another dessert option…Another plus about this place is that you can get Kombucha here! Since the Lindsey Lohan incident, many places (like Whole Foods) have pulled it completely off their shelves. It seems they just didn’t want to deal with it anymore, leaving us Kombucha lovers high and dry.