My review of The Golden Lotus Chinese restaurant

While recently on a trip to Niagara Falls, my husband and I found ourselves looking for a nice place to eat dinner at 11:30 at night. Although we knew this is a relatively late time to be searching for a decent restaurant, we assumed that a city whose main attractions are the casinos would be ready to cater to a night time crowd. Sadly, this was not at all the case.
After searching the main strip for an open restaurant that looked at all appealing, we finally found The Golden Lotus attached to the Fallsview Casino. We perused the menu, eight pages of Chinese fare, and decided to give it a try.
The Golden Lotus is a fairly typical Chinese restaurant, although it strives to be higher end than it is in actuality. In the daytime it operates as a Chinese buffet, and by night it serves up the same menu options at a-la-carte rates. Although the food was good, it was not great and some of the dishes brought to us were cold. This would have been slightly more acceptable if the restaurant had been closing soon, however it was only 11:30 pm and the restaurant was open until 2 am. No excuse for cold food, in my books. Over all, my impression was that this restaurant is probably a much better value during the day, when patrons don`t have to pay a-la-carte prices for food that was seemingly prepared hours earlier.

Fish Maw and Fungus Soup

To start, we ordered two soups- hot and sour seafood soup, and fungus fish maw. The hot and sour soup was perfectly done. It was spicy, which I love, and brimming with shrimp and scallops. It also had little pieces of tofu, and julienned mushroom, which added texture and character to the already amazing soup. The fish maw with fungus was disappointing when eaten with the hot and sour soup, but it wasn`t bad. It was a more elegant soup- a fish based consommé with a black Chinese mushroom and a piece of leak floating in it. Unfortunately, it was a bit bland and didn`t nearly stand up to the bold flavours of the perfectly executed hot and sour soup.

Roast Duck

Next we ordered the honey pepper short ribs, and fried duck. Both were cold when brought to the table. Had these two items not been cold, I would have nothing but good things to say about them. The beef was rare, which I prefer, and the sauce was sweet with a slight hint of spice. My only comment would be that it seems the short ribs were done in a rush, which made them chewy and extremely awkward to eat. The duck was delicious, despite being cold. It was crispy, and well-flavoured, with hints of cardamom and anise. Absolutely delicious!

Singapore Noodles

Our next course was Singapore noodles. The slightly curried vermicelli tossed with shredded chicken and shrimp was pedestrian, to say the least. There was nothing especially wrong with it, but there was nothing especially right about it either. The chicken was ok, since it is almost impossible to screw up chicken. The shrimp were rubbery and tasted like they`d been previously frozen, which I didn`t appreciate. Curry was the only flavour that was noticeable, which isn`t bad since I like curry, but left something to the imagination. These Singapore noodles would have been acceptable at a Chinese fast food restaurant inside of a mall`s food court, but at a supposedly “high end“ Chinese restaurant, were frankly disgraceful.

Spicy Jellyfish

We did end our meal on a good note, however, with a cold spicy plate of jellyfish. The jellyfish was perfectly prepared, sliced thinly with a beautiful pepper sauce. It was by far the best dish on the menu, and truthfully it was the saving grace of an otherwise pedestrian Chinese dinner.
With no alcohol purchased, our dinner bill exceeded $200, and there were no leftovers (one of my favourite parts of eating Chinese is taking home the leftovers!). We did, however, leave the restaurant full and satisfied.
Although I would not recommend this restaurant as a first choice to anyone dining in Niagara Falls, it is an acceptable place to go for a nice, sit-down Chinese meal. The service is friendly and prompt, and it is a good late-night option when all the other restaurants have closed. Should the opportunity arise, I may go back one day- I will just be more selective with my future menu choices!

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