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Lotus Garden, Vienna 蓮花園比菜市場還吵 July 13, 2014

Posted by hslu in China, Restaurants.
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My Dad wanted some soup noidles for dinner and asked me to take him to Lotus Garden for their hand-made noodles. We were there on a Saturday evening around 7.

For some reason, when I walked into the Lotus Garden restaurant on Maple Ave. in Vienna, Virginia, it felt like I was in the middle of a traditional farmers market near my home in 北屯 台中 many decades ago. The noise was so loud that I couldn’t hear what my Dad was saying sitting across a 4-top from me. Tiled floor, hard walls all around, more than 10 picture frames on the wall, low ceiling and closed space made the situation even worse.

My appetite was cut in half right away. So be prepared when you go there for a bowl of not-that-authentic Chinese food. We have been their a couple of times before but I didn’t like them. Problems: it took a long time for us to get a bowl of noodle; prices were somewhat elevated; services were slow and not very professtional and their food wasn’t very authentic. Decoration was better than run-the-mill Chinese restaurants but that was all I could say about it.

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I ordered a bowl of 牛肉刀削麪 but got 拉麪 instead. Be forewarned that 牛肉麪 is 蘭州牛肉麪 not 四川牛肉麪. You’ll get cumin and other spice in your soup too. If you order 牛肉麪, do not order 五香牛肉 because it is the same 牛肉 you’ll get in 牛肉麪。Nothing special about the sauce came with the 五香牛肉。Don’t waste your money. A big improvement over the last two times we were here was that time to get our soup noodles was cut by at least half: we were almost finished our meal when our 牛肉麪 finally came.

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麻辣牛筋 is very good: chewy but not tough; spicy but not hot; the pickled sweet/sour radish and carrots complementing the tendon nicely.

Spinach with garlic was bad because the spinach was over-cooked by 10 or 15 seconds in the big pot of soupbase in the middle of the cooking station before it was stirred fried. You might call it 水煮菠菜 instead.

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梅菜扣肉 was better but not great. The meat was very tender. The pork fat and skin almost melt in your mouth but the sauce was a little light on the unique flavor of 梅菜. It can be a little saltier too. The bedding was lettuce which was a ‘no no’ in traditional Chinese cooking. The sauce was a little bland too. See for yourself on the following two pictures: one from Lotus Garden and the other from a website.

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Business was good when we were there. The ~70-seat dining room was 3/4 filled when we left around 8:30 on a nice Saturday evening.

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