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San bernardino shooting victims: who they were
Recessed off the street on Base Line Street just west of Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino, the ambiance barely does justice to the breadth and depth of the menu, ranging from appetizers and a wide array of pho noodle soups and bahn mi Vietnamese sandwiches to rice noodle and steamed rice combo plates.
The service is pleasant and the array of items would give the Vietnamese restaurants in Westminster and Garden Grove a run for their money.
When you visit, start with rice paper spring rolls — wraps containing bean sprouts, lettuce, shredded carrots and a choice of meat or seafood. During our visit, we opted for the sugar cane shrimp.
Shrimp are ground into a paste and then formed into a sliced sausage shape with a hint of sweetness on top. Dip the roll into the chile-flecked clear fish sauce, which is ificantly less pungent than the Thai version.
The sugarcane shrimp paste spring rolls at Lotus Restaurant are served with a mild Vietnamese fish sauce. Photo by Dorene Cohen.
The dry noodle bowl with pork at Lotus Restaurant has vermicelli noodles at the bottom and shredded pork rind and grilled pork with lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers and crushed peanuts. Next up was a pho from the Imperial city of Hue. The rich beef broth is excellent and the heat is not inordinately spicy.
Add-ins include basil leaves, fresh lemon, and bean sprouts to provide even more depth to the flavor profile. We also opted for dry vermicelli rice noodles with strips of pork rind, and grilled pork accompanied by pickled radishes, carrots and lettuce. Add some fish sauce or thick Vietnamese hoisin to jazz things up.
My favorite item turned out to be the spicy stir-fried catfish filets served with a scoop of steamed rice and sauteed onions in a lovely lemon grass gravy. Pungent aromas waft from the plate and the tender catfish beautifully absorbs the spice profile — a distinct winner.
Then there was the House Special Rice served with an array of grilled items including chicken, pork, shrimp and a delicious wedge of steamed egg meatloaf blended with glass noodles. A side salad of pickled radishes, carrots, cucumber and lettuce made for a perfect one-dish meal.
Our final item was Saigon yellow chicken curry consisting of big hunks of boneless dark meat and wedges of potatoes and onions floating in a thin but intense curry broth garnished with chopped green onion. A loaf of authentic French bread toasted crisp on the outside accompanied the curry and was perfect for soaking up every last drop of the red chile flecked broth.
The chef who prepares it was off the Sunday we visited. David Cohen is a freelance dining critic who also writes for Riverside and Redlands magazines. Send him an at dcohen4 verizon.
Information:www. Recommended dishes: Spicy stir-fried fish filet with lemon grass, Saigon yellow chicken curry, Hue spicy beef noodle soup with pork and tendon. Details: Menu descriptions are listed in Vietnamese, English and Spanish. Smoothies made with avocado, honeydew, mango, mocha, strawberry and taro are available.
What the stars mean: Ratings range from 4 stars to one. By David Cohen. Show Caption. More in Restaurants Food and Drink.