LOTUS in Downtown Orlando
You may have heard about LOTUS, a global fusion restaurant that opened up fairly recently in downtown Orlando. Right on Eola Drive, it’s at a great location. What you may not know is that it’s a farm-to-table fusion restaurant. What this means, is that the restaurant aims to get their food locally sourced. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good farm-to-table restaurant but when you come in here, that’s not the first thing you notice. The menu doesn’t mention anything about their philosophy or where the food comes from. (Aside from the line that states they make their own doughs, breads, and desserts.)
I had a sampling of their menu so the pictures you’ll see are not the actual portion sizes.
First, the lotus chips served with a curry dipping sauce ($6). It’s not something you see often on a menu, especially in Orlando. The lotus chips had a firm yet soft texture since the chips aren’t thin. It was pretty good. The curry dipping sauce was the winner between the two. I could taste the coconut milk in the curry sauce and the curry sauce had a deceptively light heat. Good balance of flavors for this one. It’s great for sharing.
Next, I tried the Pork Belly Tacos with Harissa Aioli ($9). For $9, you get 3 tacos. The grilled dough was thicker with a hint of sweetness. The harissa aioli wasn’t as prevalent but I still enjoyed the pickled onions. Another good appetizer.
The third item I sampled was the Ruby Red Shrimp with a Chili-Strawberry Jam. This was a tasty item! It was a fun spin on a crab ragoon. Imagine if you will, a wonton filled with creamy goodness of shrimp and assorted yummyness. It made me think of a compact tastier version of a Seafood Newberg. The “tie” around the wonton was a green onion and the “stick” was from an asparagus. The chili-strawberry jam was a nice accompaniment to the ruby red shrimp. I loved the visual presentation and the flavors with this dish.
During my meal, I ended up ordering a cocktail. The Van Gogh Mango ($8). It’s a tasty tropical delight with the mango puree, lemon juice, and san pellegrino orange. With that being said, happy hour is 4pm-8pm daily.
Ok, back to the food. So, next I had the Cornish Hen. This was a stellar dish, a beautiful Cornish hen on top of a delicious mushroom risotto with a cranberry reduction and yellow tomato juice foam on the side. It’s like a mini-Thanksgiving dinner in my mouth. Lots of flavors, but still enjoyable for someone who can’t handle spicy food. At this point, all my meals have been pretty tasty.
The seared mahi with togarashi miso had lot of great textures going on. I liked the carrot puree on the side and the fresh fruit slaw on top. Again, another flavorful dish!
My next entrée was my least favorite one of all. The grilled skirt steak with a truffle shallot chimichurri and goat cheese crema. It’s one of those “well, it had sounded good” kind of dishes. It wasn’t terrible but it just didn’t have enough flavor. Le sigh. Well, everything I had tasted up to this point was pretty good.
Last but not least, I had dessert. A chocolate cake with a blood orange sorbet ($5). I thought the blood orange sorbet was fantastic.
At the end of my meals I met the executive chef of Lotus, Chef Louis Negrón. You can definitely tell he’s got a passion for food! Overall, I enjoyed Lotus mostly for the food. Great flavors, great techniques, nice presentation, and the menu had a good variety. My main criticism is that for a restaurant that boasts being a farm-to-table fusion restaurant, why is it not more evident? If I were to just wander into the restaurant, I wouldn’t realize it’s a farm-to-table restaurant. I’d think it’s just a trendy restaurant downtown. Also, the servers didn’t seem too knowledgable when I asked specific questions about the dishes. The prices of the entrées are ranging from $10-$20. Since I know the concept of the restaurant, I can understand it being more expensive. Had I not known, I would probably think it’s more overpriced than it ought to be.
All in all, good food, good location, trendy decor, and good happy hour specials.