Hey kids, we have Vietnamese back in the 'hood (I don't really count that Vietnamese place on Ellsworth as being in the 'hood). And the folks running Lotus Cafe (8077 Georgia Ave) used to help run Kim Than (the restaurant at this spot before My Le.) They had left the area for about 10 years, but are now back and looking to make a new go of it. They expect Lotus Cafe to have a hipper vibe than Kim Than or My Le (that won't take much since both of the previous places lacked any vibe at all). The new folks see Lotus almost as a restaurant and lounge - well, the lounge part will come in time, maybe later this year.
Looking over their menu, I can certainly see many dishes that were served back in the Kim Than days (and served when it was My Le too). The starters are what you might expect, summer rolls, crispy spring rolls, fried wontons - but also calamari fries (muc chien). Then there's a nice selection of noodle entrees, chicken, beef, vegetarian and several grilled entrees with vermicelli noodles (always loved them). But one I see missing is tofu vermicelli. I'll have to put in a special request for that. And what Vietnamese restaurant would be complete without Pho, the traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Lotus has a few Pho dishes with beef, chicken and seafood. The prices do appear to be a dollar or two higher per entree than previously, but I had always wondered how the previous places stayed in business with some of the low prices they charged (and they certainly did not scrimp on quantity). The new owners will also be adding some new dishes to the menu in the weeks and months to come. Maybe in time there will be nightly specials?
I also should note that Lotus is serving lunch specials from 11-3 Monday-Friday for $7.45. They have 20 different options for these specials. The new owners have yet to completely finish all the renovations but a quick peak inside definitely showed some improvements. In addition, the patio has had a nice makeover too. I look forward to a dinner out there very soon.
Some other items to note right now: they are open Mon-Sun from 11AM-10PM. At present they serve bottled beer and wine (draft beer and a full bar are on the way - part of the lounge experience). But at least where liquor is concerned, given our county of residence, it might be a ways off.
I am certainly happy to see new (old) owners take over the spot. Since My Le has closed, my partner and I have certainly eaten much less Vietnamese food than usual. I expect that to change soon. I have a lot of making up to do. Vận may.