First Bite: Red Lotus

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I recently checked out midtown’s brand new Red Lotus restaurant, located in the site formerly occupied by G.V. Hurley’s. Opened by sushi chef Billy Ngo, who owns Kru restaurant just down the street, the space has had a tasteful makeover and offers a compact, intriguing selection of comforting Asian nibbles. Menu items are divided into soups & salads, dim sum, vegetables, and rice dishes (with a few chow meins thrown in for good measure), and are reasonably priced—when we visited at lunch, the chili shrimp, tossed in a creamy, honey-spiked aioli, was the priciest dish at $9.50, and most items ranged from $6.50 to $9.00. Tasty small plates I sampled included a feather-light snow crab and asparagus fried rice; and a nurturing oxtail soup with lotus root. Your kids will enjoy the deep-fried Chinese sweet buns (which looked an awful lot like small doughnuts) served up with thick, sweet condensed milk and jackfruit puree.

2716 J Street, Sacramento, (916) 231-0961