Finally, when that aloo gobi craving hits, the connection is closer to home. Lotus Café, formerly a vegetarian lunch spot, has been transformed into an Indian restaurant. The tiny café is still owned and operated by the Naraine family, but apparently there's a bigger market for Indian than for vegetarian fare on Park Avenue.
On a recent visit, we tried the aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) and the chana masala (spicy chickpeas), reliable indicators of quality, along with samosas and garlic naan. Most of what we ate was plain, clean, well-prepared but not extraordinary, with the exception of the samosas — dense and crispy outside, creamy and steaming-hot inside, they appeared to be homemade (no small feat). And the aloo gobi, a quite basic dish, was surprisingly delicate and perfectly seasoned. On the downside, I spied a plastic packet of naan in the freezer, which explains the rubbery quality of the bread, and the sweet yogurt lassi we sampled was only so-so.
I was a fan of the previous veggie incarnation, but I'm thrilled that I no longer have to trek down to I-Drive, South OBT or out to the UCF area to get my fix. The new Lotus Café retains the most important trait of the old one. It still feels like a good home cook, not a restaurant chef, is in the kitchen — someone who cares about your health and wants you to dine well. (Lotus Café, 521 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-9111. Indian. Moderate.)[email protected]