The food at Thai Lotus is a pleasant surprise.

Thai Lotus is too good to overlook

It makes me wonder what else I have missed, overlooked, passed by without a second glance. I’ve been to Chianti, and Venice before that—what? Ten times, maybe? A dozen? Which means that ten or a dozen times before I’d been within spitting distance of Thai Lotus -- and not even seen it. I’ve stood on this sidewalk on nights when, starving, I’ve had to wait 45 minutes for a table and it never occurred to me to just say, “Screw it,” take twenty steps and eat Thai food instead of Italian. When we’d finally stepped into Thai Lotus for our first meal there—propelled by a chance hit on the Internet, Laura’s lingering cold and a need for something spicy, hot and singeing—I actually had a flash of memory: of standing out front of Venice, smoking a cigarette, waiting, and watching a couple walk by with bags of takeout, the smell of curry and basil wafting off of them like an alien perfume. I remembered thinking how good that smelled, but then being called back to the Italian restaurant, my table finally ready.

Last week, I finally made inside Thai Lotus -- and now I can’t believe that I ignored it for so long.

The food is excellent -- proof that, even after six years, this city still plenty of surprises for me hidden around virtually every corner. Read my review of Thai Lotus in this week's Cafe section.

For Bite Me, I visited Pho 99 in Alameda Square, which I'd reviewed just two months ago, and still found surprises on that menu, which offers at least one of everything a big, hungry boy needs to satisfy any appetite -- provided that appetite is for Vietnamese food. There's also good news from D Bar Desserts (liquor!); bad news from 8 Rivers (still not open in LoDo!) and yet more surprises at Charlie Brown's -- where, after years of drinking there, I finally opened a menu. -- Jason Sheehan

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