Sunday, September 29, 2013

LOTUS lands in Downtown Orlando: restaurant review

At the base of the Sanctuary Building, in the former Prickly Pear space, LOTUS, a trendy, 30-something-friendly bar/restaurant recently opened. Chef Luis J. Negron's farm-to-table menu combines local ingredients fused with international cooking techniques. I had the opportunity to visit for a chef's tasting and I was impressed with a menu that spanned European, Middle Eastern, Asian and South American cuisines.

The meal started with a serving of Lotus Chips with a green curry dipping sauce. While the eponymous fried lotus roots have a beautiful shape, their flavor is neutral -- but dipped in the curry sauce -- they were refreshing, with a hint of spice.

After the lotus chips, I sampled a Pork Belly Taco with a harissa aioli. More a flat bread, than a tortilla, topped with the pork and onions, I enjoyed the combination of flavors the taco offered. This was my favorite dish of the night.

Next up was a Ruby Red Shrimp dish served in an eggroll-like pouch and served with a chili-strawberry jam. I loved the presentation, and a bite into the pocket was a delight to the palate.

For the third course, Chef Negron wowed us with a Wok Seared Mahi dish with udon noodles, mango slaw and a togarashi-miso jus. Another Asian-inspired dish seared to perfection. I loved the crispy texture of the fish that broke with a fork revealing flavorful, flaky fish.

Finally, we enjoyed a Grilled Skirt Steak with a truffle-shallot chimichurri, goat cheese crema and pommes frites. I was a bit disappointed that the steak lacked a strong chimichurri flavor, was a bit tough, and the pommes frites a bit soggy. My table mostly agreed this was the least delightful dish of the evening.

For dessert, we were treated to a wonderful Chocolate-Cappuccino Cake with an orange sorbet.

I very much enjoyed my dinner at LOTUS and I think I would enjoy coming back for dinner and few drinks afterwards. I like the restaurant's hip, urban style, energetic service and focus on freshness.

LOTUS features a full bar with fresh cocktails, a comprehensive wine list, and daily happy hour. Located in the Sanctuary Building, complimentary parking is available on the adjacent lot at the entrance on Mariposa Street.

Note: I dined compliments of LOTUS.

4 Fusions out of 5

Lotus on Urbanspoon


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