By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
Kecap manis is the stuff that makes nasi goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, look so brown and taste so savory-sweet, mixed as it is with chicken or shrimp, or lamb if you please. That savory-sweet taste is also found in the crispy-brown ayam goreng kalasan, Javanese twice-cooked chicken, braised with palm sugar. Whereas the ayam goreng kuning is a sweet-spicy-hot chicken, the sweet part of that combination comes from coconut milk, another favorite ingredient in Indonesian eats.
But the two entrees I delight in most are the rendang, or red curry beef, and the gulai kambing, or spicy lamb curry. The rendang is served on a plate as nice-sized chunks of beef encrusted with a deep brown, almost flaky sauce of coconut and spices. The merest mention of it makes me drool. Even hotter is the gulai kambing, served in a bowl, almost as a soup, with small bits of lamb ribs and lamb meat and a dozen or more different spices. Unlike anything else on the menu, the gulai kambing explodes like Chinese fireworks in your mouth.
Cool down with a giant bowl of es campur. Described on the menu as "assorted tropical fruits drink," it's really an ice cream-like mlange of shaved ice, jellied palm fruit, and lychee-like rambutans. A splendid creation, full of candied surprises, the es campur is one of those items for which folks come all the way from towns like Peoria. I don't blame them, though you can bet your grandma's bloomers that whenever I visit Lotus, I'll be ingesting quite a bit more.
480 -855-5258. Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Tuesday