A visitor tootling down Route 36 with a yen for Asian may be unable to distinguish the Golden Lotus mid-strip from Chez Thuy a half-mile north. But you can, and must. While both have long thrived in Boulder despite drive-by locations that would murder any upstart without an Apple or a Bee in its name, only one warrants your undivided attention and repeat business.
The Chinese fare at the Lotus is most times exactly what you’d expect it to be, sometimes less, and never more. Chez Thuy’s Vietnamese cuisine, on the other hand, is consistently intriguing, always seeming to smuggle a rogue spice or two into every stir fry and curry. Some advice: Do not bail on the place if the line for a lunch table is ten deep. It moves fast and it’s there for a reason. Also, do not take your hostesses’s perpetual scowl as a sign of contempt. We have come to understand over many years of patronage that it’s an accident of physiognomy and not psychology.
We are partial to the noodle bowls (“bun”) at lunch and prefer the Combination Soup over the traditional Pho that one hears and reads so much about these days. But that’s just us. The prawns in almost any incarnation here are stirring, and the hotpots leave nothing to be desired. Come often, come hungry, order freely, and consider the extensive menu an invitation to exploration. At some point, there is little doubt, you will find something that will have you coming back for years.