Mon-Fri, noon-3pm and 5pm-10:30pm; Sat-Sun, 5pm-10:30pm
1, 2, 3 at Chambers St.; A, C at Chambers St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Albany St. to Canal St., Broadway to River Ter.
As aficionados of regional Chinese food spots know, you generally don’t come for the atmosphere. So Lotus Blue’s upscale surroundings (high ceilings strung with decorative lanterns, brick walls) come as a surprise: this isn’t your average Flushing dive. The food isn’t typical, either; only a handful of places in the city serve Yunnanese food (although this fare is “Yunnan-influenced,” the owners say), which hails from the southwest corner of China and displays a decidedly tropical bent. This is evident in a salad of mango and banana blossoms, amped up considerably by bird’s-eye chili, though sadly the mango on a recent visit wasn’t very sweet and juicy. Save your taste buds for the delicate hot pot chicken, which needs a little salt; once it got a shake, its deliciously delicate gingery flavors emerged. Also, don’t miss the charred prawns with candied olives or a tasty fried rice with ground pork and cubes of turnip. As a nice touch, the place is upmarket enough that they’ll happily change your plates and silverware between courses. For dessert, if you dare, try the puffs filled with durian, a fruit so pungent it’s banned from public transit in its native Southeast Asia.
Stir-fried prawns with candied olives, $26; steam pot chicken, $20; ground pork and pickled turnip fried rice, $12