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The Dish: Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant

Takeout-night goes vegetarian

Sometimes after a long day, I just can't seem to muster the energy to cook dinner. I suspect I’m not alone. During a recent takeout-night at my house, we decided to “go veg” and placed an order with Chinese-inspired .

These days, it seems like more and more people are cutting meat from their diet. Whether you are thinking of making the switch, reaping the health benefits of a “meatless Monday” sort of ritual, or simply wanting to share an effortless meal with vegetarian/vegan friends, it is handy to have an easy option so close to home.

I started my dinner with a spring roll ($1.50). Its ability to travel in the takeout bag was decent. Since most takeout rolls get a little soggy on the drive home, a few minutes in the toaster oven did the trick. I topped mine with spicy mustard and enjoyed the crunchy cabbage filling that also included carrots and thin slices of soy protein.

It was difficult not to order one of their most popular dishes called General Tso’s Surprise ($10.95). Debunking any myths that vegetarian food is all green and super-healthy, these fried balls of battered soy protein are drenched in a sweet sauce, and they will certainly bring a smile to the face of any vegetarian who misses this quintessential comfort food. This dish includes steamed broccoli and if you prefer that it not be covered in General Tso’s sauce, I suggest you request it to be served separately.

I took more of a risk with the second entree, ordering Crispy Vege-Prawn ($13.95). I wasn’t sure what to expect from the mock-shrimp that are made from yam flour then breaded and tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce, but they were really quite good. The texture of the vege-prawns was surprisingly close to “the real thing” and with my penchant for vegan food, I quickly forgot the difference while enjoying the crisp texture of the breading and the flavorful sauce. The dish was served with mixed vegetables that included broccoli, carrots, cabbage and cauliflower – and I appreciated that they were still a bit crisp.

Both entrees came with a container of whole grain rice.

While I can’t say that a regular meat-eater would be completely fooled by the vegetarian nature of these dishes, I found the choices at to be excellent substitutes for anyone who wishes to avoid meat, but is also craving typical, or not-so-typical, Chinese takeout dishes.

Ambiance: has a small, clean, very causal dining room with table service that I have eaten at on several occasions and the staff is consistently friendly. Takeout can be ordered on the phone or at the counter and must be picked up.

Patrons: The menu is 100% vegetarian and very vegan-friendly so this is a prime choice among those avoiding meat, dairy, or eggs for reasons of ethics, health, or food allergies. Lunch specials also attract the lunch-break crowd, and the close proximity to Lowes makes it a good spot to fuel the next weekend DIY project.

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Sunday: 12:00 noon-9:30 p.m.

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