26 April, 2007
The Lotus Leaf Viet Bistro and Cafe (Cary) *CLOSED*Posted in : Dining in Cary - NC, Restaurants on by : becca
The Lotus Leaf Viet Bistro and Cafe
969 N Harrison Ave
Lunch entrees: $7-$10
The Lotus Leaf offers a mixture of Asian cuisine styles, tucked into the elbow of one of the Triangle’s hordes of strip malls. We went on an advertised festival day for the restaurant, which translated into two vendor tables in the opening walkway and live jazz coming from one of the dining rooms. I was excited to try the food, if less than enthused that our dining room only had piped Sinatra tunes.
You enter the dining room through a rustic stone archway. Inside, most of the walls are painted a pleasant rusty yellow, which was great for the late afternoon lunch we enjoyed but might be too bright for a romantic dinner if that’s what you’re looking for. The wall next to us was decorated with textured, well, something. If I had to guess, I’d say it was rice paper. Each table had a nifty contraption affixed to the wall that held candles and saved on table space. Inspired!
For beverages, I ordered a Thai iced tea, which was the texture and hideous orange of canned Thai iced tea—not my favorite variety.
We started with spring rolls, served with a chili paste that I smelled as soon as the waiter entered the room. It was filled with shrimp, carrot, vermicelli, and cabbage, which made for a bland filling. However, the peanut sauce and dots of chili paste quite made up for it. Maybe I’m just not a fan of spring rolls since all that I’ve tried just seem flavorless and dry.
My chili lemongrass chicken salad was a great blend of tastes without needing to be dressed up in a complicated dish. The lemongrass marinated chicken had plenty of extra pizzazz to carry over to the salad, which was a simple mixture of cucumber, carrot, iceberg lettuce, noodles, and something resembling both basil and mint—mintasil? The crunchiness of fried shallots and peanuts added a delicious level of texture to the dish.
The Lotus Leaf is on its way to becoming a can’t miss restaurant when you crave a light Asian meal but needs a bit of fine tweaking in ambience and ingredients to make it to the top.