Bon appetit everyone, it’s Bartosz, the new meat correspondent for Food Fight! Previous meat expert Jess Whitesel has moved onto taking the newspaper editor world by storm, so I have been given the impossible task of taking her place. However, my Polish ancestry gives me an automatic expertise on all things alcoholic, pickled, and meat-related, so I do feel right at home.
The first meat-venture I’ll take you on is into my ‘hood, the hinterlands of East Richmond.
You might think that East Richmond is not known for having a wide array of luxury eateries, and you’d be correct. But what this place lacks in hipster bars and Michelin Stars, it more than makes up for in cheap, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, with the best one by a country mile being Lotus.
Lotus is a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in serving delicious, life giving bowls of pho — their nickname is “The Place for Pho Lovers.” A few weeks ago, vegan aficionado of the Food Fight column Gemma Lee reviewed a delectable Vietnamese restaurant of her own, Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House. I’m here to assure all the carnivores out there that Lotus has your Vietnamese needs covered as well.
When you walk into Lotus, the first thing you notice is its cleanliness and a simple-yet-sleek décor that would make any IKEA designer tip their hat. The service is incredibly quick and with a smile, and the complimentary green tea that is served is actually prepared correctly — not brewed beyond all recognition.
The appetizers that I tried out were their shrimp salad roll and chicken wings. Though somewhat bland on its own, the roll was very well paired with its complimentary peanut sauce. The chicken wings also delivered. Crispy on the outside and with soft meat that fell off the bone on the inside, Lotus’ wings can definitely hold their own with any potential challenger.
Now onto the crown jewel of Lotus, their pho. Every part of this soup was excellent. The broth had a “just like mama used to make” homemade taste, and perfectly balanced with the ingredients inside it. The vermicelli noodles were delicious as well, and went great with the steak and meatballs that I ordered. If that’s not your jam, though, there is a plethora of other goodies you can put in your pho, such as beef tendon, tripe, flank, and brisket.
I also got to try out one of their other mains, which was a chicken fillet served on rice. While simple, it was made incredibly well, with the chicken simultaneously having a crunchy skin and tender core.
If you ever find yourself lost in East Richmond and are in serious need of some sustenance, then you can feel safe knowing that Lotus will take good care of you. With their appetizers ranging between $3–6, and their mains being $7–12, you can be sure of the fact that both your taste buds and wallet will be fully satisfied.