Not your Typical Chinese Food
I cannot remember a time when I didn't know and love Lotus Inn. It's been around for years and it's literally a staple of my childhood. My parents loved it and now I would't dream of a life without it. (dramatic much?) In all seriousness, in 2013 when I found out that the previous owner had passed away and they were under new management, I was quite sad and a little panicked. This restaurant has always meant something to me, so I was afraid that everything they had built was in jeopardy.
I will be honest and say that the first time I went since the change, I hated almost everything. I was devastated, but I understood that they were in the middle of a change and I'm very glad I went back to give them a second chance. I love almost everything they are doing, (and planning to do) and the wait staff has always been knowledgeable and attentive.
Can I live in this Soup??
I am very aware that I seem to love almost everything I blog about, but when it comes to this Cabbage Soup, there is just no competition. This concoction of cabbage, carrots, small pieces of chicken, and a hint of, what I can only presume, is ginger, makes for an unforgettable experience. Although the bowl looks quite small, this soup is packed with delicate flavor. The cabbage is tender and falls apart the second you have a spoonful. The carrots are few and cut small, which I like. This soup has chicken pieces in it, but I wouldn't say of large quantity, due to the fact that they are meant for flavor and not substance. Overall, this soup is a great start to your meal, or a great meal in itself. I highly recommend it.
Also available with combination special.
Crab Cheese Puffs
Although the outside of these cheese puffs is crispy and delicious, I cannot begin to describe the filling, due to the fact that their was very little of it inside each puff. This was my very first time ordering this appetizer and unfortunately, it will probably be my last. The cost of this appetizer is 4.95 for 6 Cheese puffs, and although I wasn't expecting a large amount of crab and cheese, I did expect more than the smear they gave me. I will say that if you aren't a huge fan of crab and you really enjoy fried food, this might be the appetizer for you.
Beef & Broccoli
This is one of the beautiful entrees included in the Combination Specials. If you like well seasoned beef, in a brown sauce, with crisp, perfectly cooked broccoli, I guarantee you'll fall in love with this entree. Although almost all Chinese food restaurants have this dish, I think that Lotus Inn has one of the best executions for this particular one.
The egg rolls that accompany these dishes are just out of this world fantastic. (Disclaimer: They will ruin all other egg rolls for you!) The dough wrapper is fried to a delicious crisp, and the cabbage and veggies inside are quite savory and full of great texture.
Kung Pao Chicken
Another Combination Special is this spicy, brown sauce stir-fry that has a great balance between crispy veggies and delicious chicken. The chili peppers are thrown in whole (for us wary of heat levels) and add great spice to the sweet bite provided by the orange sauce, with hints of ginger and garlic. I especially like that their carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts are cut in large pieces so you can pick and choose what every bite tastes like.
Double Fried Noodles
These extraordinary and very distinctive noodles are not part of the specials, but if your looking for noodles with the perfect crunch, these are to die for! You have the option of choosing different proteins: chicken, roasted pork, or beef- $9.95, or shrimp or combination-$10.95. Combination includes all four proteins, but I usually order the chicken and shrimp only. The portion is definitely meant for sharing (which I don't do) and can easily feed about 2-3 people. My favorite thing about these noodles is the texture. They are cooked to a crisp, but once they are soaked in the soy sauce mixture, they take on an amazing flavor. Mushrooms, bean sprouts, and scallions also add a great dynamic to the dish. As I said, these noodles are meant for more than one person, but I suggest taking home leftovers because these noodles are just as good when reheated.
Lotus Inn also does a few veggie friendly dishes. I have had a hard time finding many restaurants that have lots of veggie options, so it's pretty cool that I'm starting to see a few more happen in the RGV. I'm not sure if any of these options can be Vegan, but if you want some vegetables and/or tofu, you do have some yummy options here.
I am extremely disappointed that on this particular occasion I was too full for dessert because the world needs to know about these Fried Bananas!! I eat them almost every time I visit. I apologize for not having a picture of them, I will visit soon and hopefully take a picture of them. If you are interested in these, they do about one large banana per full order (half order is available but I recommend the full order.) The bananas have a delicious breading and are drizzled with real honey and topped with chopped peanuts.
Fried Bananas- Half Order- $3.50 Full Order- $4.95
Drinks, Beer, &Wine
Happy Hour & Cocktails
Although Lotus Inn has always offered alcoholic beverages, the new management has added a Happy Hour. These drink prices are hard to beat. The drinks aren't huge or anything, but I have had their Pina Colada; It was tasty, and came in a really cute glass. I've also heard great things about their Volcano for 2, and it's especially cool because they light it on fire. I like that they have a very old school, classic selection of cocktails, and some funky new ones as well.
Something I really like about Lotus Inn is their decor. I know many restaurants are very fancy with their decorations, but Lotus kind of keep it more old school with small statues located inside and outside and interesting Asian wall decor. We did speak to one of the waiters in regards to further plans about the outside back patio that is not currently in use, and we were informed that they are in the works to build/add to the patio and hopefully will have that available to the public soon. (I'm a lover of eating outside, so I'm extremely, excited about this!)
Address: 1120 N 10th St, McAllen, Texas 78501
Phone: (956) 631-2693